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Showing posts with label Rivesaltes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rivesaltes. Show all posts

27 November 2023

Roussillon: the north continued.

Overlooking a vineyard, Cases-de-Pène Agly Valley.

Continuing this year's series of tasting and touring articles on the Roussillon, this time we're heading back north to the Agly Valley to supplement a previous piece on the Maury area, as well as one focused on winemakers in central Roussillon (Les Aspres and either side) and one celebrating the region's rosé wines (compared to Languedoc). Meaning there'll be one more report picking favourites from the south (Collioure, Banyuls and neighbouring Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes Catalanes wines).

17 November 2023

Roussillon: Les Aspres, the centre and beyond.

Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, central Roussillon.

Côtes du Roussillon Villages and Les Aspres, Côtes du Roussillon, Côtes Catalanes and Rivesaltes VDNs.
Talking of the Aspres and neighbouring areas in central and eastern Roussillon, barrels full of heartfelt empathy go out to those winegrowers who had the very bad luck of being hit by a freak storm just before some remaining black grapes were due to be picked this vintage. One night of terrible wind and rain after months of drought with virtually no rainfall, which had already made things difficult and reduced the crop.

06 September 2022

Roussillon: a dozen Vins Doux Naturels.

The fourth and final part of my summer Roussillon review features a (baker's) dozen Vins Doux Naturels (plural, VDN(s) for short), probably more naturally translated as (sweet) fortified wines, some of which are anchored in regional tradition while others are relatively 'modern'. Including whites - although their colour is often far from it for reasons explained below, a style called Ambré - and reds from Rivesaltes, as well as Maury and Banyuls, also white and red, of various types and ages.

18 November 2014

Roussillon: Château Corneilla / Jonquères d'Oriola

Château de Corneilla aka Domaine Jonquères d'Oriola is another of those very old family wine estates you occasionally come across in the Roussillon (we're talking 15th century apparently). Now run by 30-something William who's continued shifting the focus a touch more towards making Côtes du Roussillon reds, although they still have a very good reputation for their traditional Vins Doux Naturels (VDN = fortified wines), such as the gracefully ageing Tuilé red (sort-of 'tawny' style) featured here. The Jonquères family owns two substantial vineyards around the historic village of Corneilla del Vercol, found a few kilometres south of Perpignan on the way to Saint Cyprien and Elne. Their site www.jonqueresdoriola.fr is "under construction."

Rivesaltes Tuilé 2000 (Grenache, fortified to 16% abv) - caramelised pecan nut and red fruit cocktail, quite tangy and "fresh" almost with a bit of a kick then lingering maturing meaty flavours. Alluring VDN style, try with chocolate, nutty desserts or mature hard cheeses. £13 Roberson Wine, London.
Côtes du Roussillon 2011 red (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah) - nice sweet berry and floral notes with tobacco edges, fresh bite still and light tannins on its attractive finish. £9.95 Roberson Wine.

21 February 2014

Languedoc & Roussillon: "wines of the mo"

Picked out from a South of France (goes to 'Sud de France Top 100' site, some of these wines were competition winners) tasting I did a few weeks ago for the www.niwsi.co.uk in Belfast, these wines were probably my favourite half-dozen from an interesting and diverse line-up, just for the pure pleasure of plonking a few tasty words out there in the blogosphere...

Domaine Denois 'Sainte Marie' Limoux blanc 2010 (single site "high-altitude" Chardonnay, barrel-fermented/aged) - the best of the three whites we tasted, I found it pretty much as I remembered it as per this note here (including more info on JL Denois and the wine). Touch of class. €15 cellar door.

Château de Cazeneuve 'Cynarah' Pic Saint-Loup 2011 (Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache) - attractive juicy ripe black cherry and liquorice fruit, soft tannins and rounded mouth-feel with a touch of earthy spice and mint. £12.95 the Wine Society. Previously on Cazeneuve.

Domaine Modat 'Comme Avant' Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany 2010 (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan from some of the oldest vines; half of it aged in new oak for 16 months) - a popular choice, I've already reviewed it here where you'll find more about the producer too. Nice mouthful of Med red, a tad expensive though. James Nicholson £14.95 / €21.80.

Pic by Ros Wilson
Château de Lastours 'Grande Réserve' Corbières 2008 (Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre: oldest vine selection 30 to 40 y.o; 75% of the blend aged 1 year in French oak) - attractive maturing smoky savoury and dried fruit side vs concentrated and still fairly firm structure, well balanced too. c. €18. More Lastours here.

Laurent Miquel 'Bardou' Saint Chinian 2008 Grande Cuvée (mostly Syrah from selected sites on the Cazal Viel estate, 14 months in French oak - 55% new) - another pretty serious red I'd tasted previously (goes to my special supplement on St Chinian inc. profile on Miquel and notes on several wines), showing a fair bit of oak but it's concentrated and structured with nice fruit. £16 Excel Wines, €20.99 Dunnes.

Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes ambré 2000 (100% Grenache blanc fortified to 16% abv, aged 7+ years in old tuns, 118 g/l residual sugar) - classic style with enticing oxidized walnut/pecan notes, complex flavours with nice sweet vs tangy and savoury finish and a bit of 'cut'. Liberty Wines approx retail £15 half-bottle. Lots more old Cazes here.

09 July 2013

Roussillon: Domaine Sarda Malet update, Perpignan

Previous words on and wines by Sarda Malet can be found HERE (report from a trip there in 2006, updated in 2009). I went back to this slightly hidden estate (and the family home), although lying on the southern outskirts of the city of Perpignan (across the busy road from the prison actually, over a hill and lost out of sight), earlier this year for a little tour and tasting of what's new at Sarda Malet.

Jérôme and Suzy Sarda Malet
Jérôme Malet is now in charge, with a little advice from mother Suzy no doubt; and they have a team of six vineyard workers and new winemaker Sophie Mage. Sales manager Laurent Moinet told us they have 25 ha being converted over to organics (since 2009/10) and that they've been "pulling up some vines to decrease the surface area, so we can focus on organic with the same team as it takes more man hours." Certain parcels are found near the village of Pollestres a few kilometres to the south, where "we might buy more if some good ones come up for sale." The cellar was also extended about five years ago; and the Malet family has recently invested in an estate in Côtes du Rhône country called Domaine de Fontbonau, in partnership with Frédéric Engerer who runs all the properties owned by François Pinault (Château Latour in Bordeaux among others...).
"We make a varietal range too labelled as Vin de France," Laurent explained further, "from vines planted by Jérôme's grandfather (Jérôme Sarda)..." in the 40s and 50s, and some his father Max Malet selected in the 70s and 80s. "We're planting some new Cabernet Sauvignon clones too from Chateau Latour... and we've decreased the amount of new barrels used (they needed to, to be honest, looking at some of the older vintages tasted)... and more demi-muids..." (two to three times the size of the classic barrique that impart less oak flavour yet have a similar effect on tannin texture etc.).
Lea & Sandeman shops in London stock some of these (see vintages and £ prices next to certain wines); also available in Ireland from Sheridan's Cheesemongers and from SAQ in Canada. More @ www.sarda-malet.com.


2011 Sarda-Malet white (Grenache gris and blanc, Malvoisie; 25% in barrel) - honeyed oily and nutty vs appley and floral, quite steely bite vs powerful (14% abv); lacks a little juicy fruit though.
2008 Terroir Mailloles white (Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache blanc) - pretty coconutty still yet has nice developed oily honeyed and buttery notes too, less toasty and nuttier on the palate with attractive mix of rich vs powerful vs crisp; good stuff in the end actually.
2012 Rosé (Syrah, Mourvèdre) - rich fruity raspberry/strawberry cocktail with quite weighty mouth-feel (14.5% abv!) then crisp finish. Nice style.
2011 Sarda-Malet red (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre; 30% in barrel) - enticing berry fruits, black cherry, liquorice and spice; nice 'fresh' tannins vs lingering fruit and warm alcohol. 2008 = £9.95.
2007 L'Insouciant Grenache - showing a fair amount of vanilla coconut oak, lots of sweet fruit too vs tannins a little dried out.
2008 Fandango Syrah (14% abv) - developing smoky leather edges vs dark cherry, meaty and quite concentrated with nice sweet vs savoury fruit, still firm and powerful too. Good.
2008 L'Intransigeant Mourvèdre - a bit oaky coco-y grainy, quite lean and firm with some savoury wild fruit, but again the tannins are a touch hard.
2007 Terroir Mailloles red (mostly Mourvèdre + Syrah) - a tad coco grainy and firm/extracted vs better sweet/sour fruit, still a bit overdone yet has more depth of fruit than above. 2004 = £19.95
2011 Muscat de Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel - lovely aromatic citrus peel vs grapey floral nose, sweet vs citrus bite and freshness vs nice cut from the alcohol. 2009 = £14.95
2007 La Carbasse Rivesaltes red VDN (old Grenache) - savoury meaty oxidizing notes, seems quite old already although that savoury vs dark fruit is quite attractive, still fairly solid too. Not sure. 2005 = £23.95
2005 La Carbasse Collection Rivesaltes Grenat VDN (old Grenache, cask-aged) - similar maturing baked meaty nose yet lusher and livelier, more complex with big fiery and firm vs rich and sweet combo, has much more depth and roundness vs alluring mature fruit.
2004 Le Serrat Rivesaltes ambré VDN (Grenache gris and blanc) - exotic peachy apricot notes vs juicy sweet texture suffused with subtle nutty flavours; doesn't taste that old, elegant long finish. Very good. 2000 = £16.75
1998 Le Serrat - enticing oxidized nutty nose, intense and tasty with rich exotic palate vs still 'mineral' underneath, long complex and nutty. Yum.
L'Abandon (100% Malvoisie passerillé = dried/shrivelled on the vine, 2002 vintage in fact) - very intense nutty nose with dried raisin and sultana combo, rich yet lively too, very sweet vs very fresh with intense nutty finish. Delicious unusual wine.

15 January 2013

Roussillon: Domaine Cayrol, Espira/Rivesaltes

Geographically speaking, Cayrol should really be mentioned in the same sentence as Espira de l'Agly neighbours Domaine Joliette et al, as that's where their vineyards are... But you'll find cellar and home in Rivesaltes town, so that's maybe where you're more likely to taste the wines if you're touring the area. Danièle Cayrol made their first certified organic vintage in 2011, by the way, hence this is what I tasted at last year's Millésime Bio show. More info to follow when I find some (the web address I was given doesn't work)... from this year's show perhaps...
Where to find them: 15 rue du 4 Septembre, 66600 Rivesaltes. Phone: 06 86 53 82 71, dancay@hotmail.fr

2011 Cuvée Rebin white (Muscat) – lively aromatic citrus and grapefruit notes, nice and crisp & refreshing.
2011 Cuvée Sébastien rosé (Grenache) – clean and crisp style, a bit baked?
2011 Cayrol rouge (Grenache) – attractive warm fruity style, peppery with liquorice fruit, ripe and soft vs powerful and dry grip, nice lively youthful fruity finish. Good.
2011 Cuvée Anaïs(Carignan, Grenache) – concentrated blue and black fruits, spicy crunchy side vs ripe fruity texture, tasty fresh vs lush finish. Good stuff.

29 August 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Boucabeille, Corneilla de la Rivière / Força Réal

Jean Boucabeille
Jean Boucabeille
Domaine Boucabeille

Named after affable owner Jean Boucabeille, who I met, interrogated and tasted with at Millésime Bio organic wine show earlier this year in Montpellier. Which means he has taken the organic wine-growing plunge, as is increasingly the fashion (fashion can be a good thing), with 2011 being his first fully 'certified' vintage. Jean's original vineyard plots hang on to eleven distinct staggered terraces facing southeast up on the Força Réal hill overlooking Millas, Corneilla and surrounding villages. These contoured vines were replanted in the 70s at between 200 to 350 metres altitude, following the lie of the land; and the “black mount” itself (see Jean's last red noted below, whose name evokes the locals' nickname for it) peaks at over 500m, or about 1550 feet, impaled by a giant TV mast. And Jean's been hard at it over the course of 2012 planting another six hectares of white and red Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne in backbreaking stony schist soils, bringing the total to 28 (70 acres). They've deliberately kept the surrounding woodland in its 'natural' state with wild scrub and flowers, olive and fruit trees, honey production and even the odd grazing goat and ewe.
Good range overall, especially their Orris white wine and a rather sexy Rivesaltes Hors d'Agethat sees at least five years barrel ageing. More info @ www.boucabeille.com, and you'll find the winery off the D614 road before you reach Corneilla de la Rivière (coming from Estagel or Millas). Phone no. 04 68 34 75 71. Sold in London by Philglas & Swiggot (see £ prices below)and Firth and Co.(N. Yorks); and also in Germany, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, Poland and the US (in civilized Virginia at least).

2011 Le Blanc de Régis Boucabeille(50/50 Grenache blanc / Maccabeu, 13% alc.) – quite rich milky and honeyed nose/palate tinged with spicy floral notes, crisp 'mineral' vs weighty mouth-feel, attractive style and good with it.
2011 Le Rosé de Régis Boucabeille (Grenache gris / noir & Syrah, 13.5%) – juicy and quite delicate start with nice bite and texture, finishing with a bit of oomph and fruity roundness too. Serious rosé.
2011 Les Terrasses de Régis Boucabeille red (Grenache, Carignan, Syrah; 14%) – lovely rich spicy warm and dark fruit with peppery liquorice undertones, nice solid fruity style. £12.50
2010 Les Orris white (70 Maccabeu, Grenache blanc; 13%) – honeyed and toasty edged with floral white peach aromas/flavours, crisp vs weighty palate with developing oily tones on the finish. Very good.
2009Les Orris red (75 Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre; 14%) – hints of coconut oak and grain too vs firm and lush mouth-feel, balancing soft dark fruit with dry grip. Good. £24
2009 Monte Nero Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan; 14%)– more savoury meaty and developed, grainy texture with attractive tannins, quite subtle and accomplished for the dry and hot vintage 2009. £15

Vins Doux Naturels

2007 Rivesaltes ambré (70 Maccabeu, Grenache blanc; residual sugar 98 g/l and 15.5% alc) – nutty Fino vs Madeira type quirky nose, sweet palate with tangy orange peel edges, delicious walnut flavours too and almost a bit of grip of the finish! Very good.
Rivesaltes Hors d'Age (mostly Maccabeu, 15.5% alc, RS 117 g/l) more complex and 'volatile' aromas with rich vs tangy palate and tasty very long finish. Towards excellent, should slowly get even better with bottle age...

11 November 2010

Roussillon: Château Lauriga, Thuir

Jacqueline Clar's locally well-established Lauriga comes to 60 hectares (150 acres) of vines spread all around the cute old-Catalan 'Mas' style wine cellar buildings, office and house (part of which is being done up into a tasting / function room), which is pretty sizeable round these parts and where there aren't that many wine estates, except for e.g. their neighbour Domaine Nivet-Galinier. Syrah occupies the lion's share of plantings and hence the make-up of their quite large range, supplemented by the other usual red and white Med / Catalan varieties; plus a good dollop of Merlot too (which actually produces a very attractive easy-drinking wine here - see below). And, as they're lacking a bit of Grenache to make a red Vin Doux Naturel, Jacqueline's recently gone into partnership with a grower in Maury to produce their own young fruity "muté sur grain" style VDN (click here for more info in a feature on Maury & Banyuls). Lauriga currently exports to a few mainland European countries (e.g. Germany, Belgium, Netherlands), but they have plans, with a little help perhaps from new sales manager Maxime Séjourné, to try and crack English speaking wine-quaffing markets! Anyway, if you're in the area, it's well signposted off the Perpignan - Thuir road, heading towards Ponteilla.

I tried these wines in situ in November 2010:
2008 Soleil Blanc de Lauriga vin de pays d'Oc (Grenache blanc & gris 14%) - lightly nutty "oxidative" notes layered with some coconut oak; nice rounded and oily texture vs quite toasty oak, although it's fairly concentrated, juicy and powerful too. A foodie white for sure, a touch too much oak for my taste but it does have attractive texture with it. €10 85+?
2009 Domaine Lauriga Grenache gris rosé vin de pays d'Oc (12.5%) - aromatic and juicy, light crisp profile and finish; attractive "pale" rosé style. €5.90 80+
2009 Château Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon rosé (Syrah, Grenache 13.5%) - very different style with full-on cherry colour, richer red fruit side and "winey" full-bodied mouth-feel; oily vs fruity texture then crisp vs weighty finish. Versatile dinner rosé: e.g. salmon, cured ham, tortilla, vegetable dishes. €5.90 87

2009 Domaine Lauriga Merlot vin de pays (13.5%) - lovely black cherry and ripe plum nose with lightly herby edges; juicy and quite concentrated actually with subtle tannins and chocolate flavours even (there's no oak though), fruity vs more serious finish. 85+ €6
2007 Cadet de Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon (Syrah, Carignan, Grenache 13%) - also no oak: enticing smoky notes with rich cherry fruit; attractive ripe mouth-feel vs light bitter twist of tannins, spicy and fruity vs a bit of weight and grip. €6 85+
2005 Château Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah 13.5%) - very different nose with richer and more Grenache liquorice and spice character, also showing a touch of coconut oak and savoury maturing edges; nice balance and style, turning meaty with subtle oak texture and solid fruit backdrop. 87-89 €12
2008 Cuvée Prestige René Clar Côtes du Roussillon (mostly their oldest Syrah 14%) - 14 months in barriques (2/3 new oak) and it does show at the moment: pretty cedar-y on the nose; nice concentrated "sweet" dark cherry fruit though vs rounded tannins, good bite and freshness almost too; coconut texture and finish, needs a few years to let that oak blend in better, could turn into something quite fine. €22 90?
2008 Muscat de Rivesaltes (Muscat petits grains) - quite subtle orangey Muscat nose vs oily developing side; tasty and aromatic, not too sweet, towards crisp even, vs luscious finish. Bit dear at €12 85
2009 Maury (Grenache) - attractive fruity "new wave" style, plummy nose with leather edges; very fruity and lush palate with liquorice and choco vs nice kick and bit of grip. Attractive style. €14 85+
Château Lauriga Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d'Age (Grenache blanc, Macabeu and a splash of Muscat petits grains; blend of 12 to 14 year-old wines) - hints of coconut and rich oxidised hazelnut, caramel and spicy citrus marmalade too; complex "Madeira" vs Tawny characters, tangier finish cuts through the palate nicely. €18 89-91

Traverse de Ponteilla, 66350 Thuir. Tel: 04 68 53 26 73, www.lauriga.com.

02 December 2009

Roussillon: Domaine Puig-Parahÿ, Passa

UPDATED DEC 2012 (see below).


It's true that some European wine estates like to brag about how long they've been messing around in vineyards, but I've not come across (m)any who claim to have records going back to 1446! Latest generation is the charming Georges Puig (pictured), who's been running the show here since 1994. The estate takes in lightly elevated (sloping up to 200-250m altitude) vines old and new all around Passa in particular spots called Fort Saint-Pierre, Sant Lluc and nearby Mas de Miserys (sounds suitably Catalan, dour I mean. Oops!). The Puig-Parahÿ family has the most extraordinary collection of old Rivesaltes VDN wines imaginable - as you'll see from the 1945 below, although the "catalogue" apparently goes back into the 19th Century. Some in bottle, some in vat and some still in cask, as I discovered on a delightful little tour (of history too it felt like, especially as you get the impression Georges' family owns, or used to own, most of the village). Georges has good distribution in the US (Village Wine Imports NYC and also Virginia, Colorado and California: email him for details), UK (Richards Walford and Rare Wine), Tokyo (the Vine) and Germany.

I was lucky enough to taste these wines with him at his place in December 2009:
2008 Sant-Lluc del Puig white vin de pays d'Oc (Macabeu, Grenache blanc, Grenache gris 13.5%) - fresh pear fruit with oily zesty edges; juicy and crisp vs rounded with a bit of weight. Nice style. $10-$15 in the US. 85
2002 Sant-Lluc del Puig white - oxidising nose with oily mineral notes in a mature Riesling way; oily nutty palate still showing good acidity keeping it alive, wacky but good. 87
2008 rosé - attractive raspberry/strawberry fruit with light lees notes; creamy mouthfeel vs juicy and crisp, nice texture, weight and fruit then refreshing bite. $10-$15 85+
2005 Georges Syrah vin de pays Côtes Catalanes (13.5%) - turning meaty and smoky with peppery dark fruit hints; quite rich with ripe liquorice vs firm coating of tannins vs nice weight, finishing with "sweet" vs meaty flavours. More old-fashioned style but nice with it. $13-$15 85-87
2006 Georges Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache, Carignan, Syrah) - similarly smoky peppery nose although shows more liquorice and "Grenache" style; chunky grippy yet lush mouthfeel, the tannins are a tad rustic and dry but it's an appealing soupy mouthful of dark fruit too. 87
2007 Georges Côtes du Roussillon - the nose is a touch closed but this is fruitier and spicier than the 06; livelier and more upfront blackberry and damson fruit on the palate, juicy and rich vs attractive grip and spice. Needs 6 months to open up. 88+
2005 Rivesaltes red Vin Doux Naturel (90% Grenache + Syrah) - beginning to turn oxidised, nutty and Porty with dried cherries and liquorice; quite concentrated and extracted but does have nice balance of lush fruit, dry tannins and alcohol; good finish, tightening up with quite complex, chunky fruit. 87-89
1993 Rivesaltes red (in vat) - turning meaty with touches of Madeira-type complexity, tobacco and cough mixture too; tangy pecan nut palate with dry vs sweet texture, long intricate finish again showing good balance of delicious tasty old vs lively dried fruits. 90
1981 Rivesaltes red (in cask still!) - treacle tart aromas with volatile spicy minty notes; very intense pecans and dried raspberries, appealing bitter twist vs lush mouthfeel then savoury finish. Wow. 90-92
1971 Rivesaltes red - treacle and molasses notes with dark brown/orange tinges, roast walnuts and wood resin too, a tad dusty perhaps (or was that the glass?); rich and sweet vs meaty oxidised, long and unusual flavours, again cough mixture with dried spice undertones. Odd but good! 92+?
1945 Rivesaltes red - extraordinary nose, old oxidised and meaty vs lovely pecan nut and prunes; mouth-filling tasty and tangy flavours, the alcohol's perhaps a tad fiery now but it has an amazing thick palate-coating; doesn't taste as old as this with long liquorice, 'tar' and roast chestnut finish. 95+


Updated 2012: the exuberant Georges was at Millésime Bio wine show in Montpellier tasting just one lonely-looking red, since “it's the only one (vineyard) now certified (organic)... I'm switching some of them over plot by plot (out of a whopping 71 ha/177 acres in total).” Watch this long space then...
2011 Carinyane de Perpignane – juicy jammy and spicy, fresh crunchy berry palate vs sweeter blue red and black fruity combo on its attractive finish. Good+

66300 Passa. Phone: 04 68 38 88 77 / mobile: 06 14 55 71 71, g.puigparahy@free.fr, www.puig-parahy.fr.

01 February 2009

Roussillon: Dom Brial - Château les Pins - Vignerons de Baixas

Church in Baixas
Let me explain: the cooperative cellars in the pretty village of Baixas (west of Perpignan airport, pic.) go under the brand name Dom Brial - some of the wines with bright, sense-of-humour labels (lipstick & fruit) and others more trad - and own Château les Pins, their premium estate a stone's throw away. With this wide grape source "we can adapt to make what sells and what customers want," Claude Sarda told us during an enlightening, late summer visit. He also said there's a surplus of Vins Doux Naturels (sweet fortified whites and reds) but not really dry wines, the production ratio being about one-third to two-thirds. Their preferred solution is to come up with ideas to sell more sweet wines - this used to be a massive market in France - rather than stop making them. Either option is a brave choice...
Grapes from Les Pins are hand-sorted by about half-a-dozen people in the cellar; in general, control and traceability of the grapes' health, quality, sugar levels, provenance etc. are quite strict, as it should be in any big winery. Technical advisers work with the co-op growers (300 of them) in their vineyards, and everything is weighed and analysed on the spot when they deliver the fruit, before they proceed to unload. I'll spare you the chemical analysis but can confirm the little lab has a machine that goes ping. The winery, which takes up half of the village, has been totally refitted over the last ten years; so plenty of stainless steel and other shiny geeky stuff.

2002 Château les Pins Côtes du Roussillon blanc, vinifié en barriques (Grenache Blanc Malvoisie Roussanne) - oily oxidised development, fat-textured quite toasty yet concentrated; not for everyone and definitely needs food. €9 85+
2005 Rozy, vin de pays Côtes Catalanes (Muscat Syrah) - quirky blend for this light, cheekily packaged (bikini clad bottle) rosé: fresh and aromatic with tangy finish, perfumed and easy yet has a bit of weight too. €4.50 82-84
2004 Dom Brial les Terres Rouges, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre Carignan, 13.5%) - nice peppery rustic black cherry and cassis notes, aromatic fruit v light grip and bite. €6 87
2002 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Elevé en fût de chêne (13.5%) - smoky mature liquorice nose, rustic black fruit set on a rounded soft palate; nice for 2002 (difficult vintage here). €6 87-89
2002 Château les Pins Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre Carignan) - similar to above but more complex and liquoricey, smoky perfumed fruit with elegant long finish. They also sell quite a few older vintages in their shop. €8.50 90+

2004 Château les Pins Rivesaltes Primage (Grenache, 15.5%) - attractive mix of sweet blackberry and leathery maturity, sugar-coated mouthful cut by drier tannins. €8 87-89
Above tasted on 5/9/06 - go down to 'France' on wines of the moment ('archive' on WineWriting.com) for reviews of other Brial wines, which are mostly sold in France at the moment although they have plans to increase their presence in the UK and US. More links to updates below.


Tasted summer 2007:
2006 Le Pot rosé (Syrah Cabernet 13%) - quite fat and juicy start with strawberry and redcurrant fruit, more elegant dry fresh finish. €3.50 87

"Wine of the moment" Feb 2009:
2008 Dom Brial Côtes du Roussillon rosé (Syrah Grenache 13%) - classic storming Roussillon rosé style, deep coloured with a light touch of tannin adding dry texture; 'winey' aromatic and crunchy red fruits with rose petal edges, juicy and zingy with chunky fruity mouth-feel and full dry finish. Nice foodie (e.g. hake fillet in Provencal sauce). €4.19 87+


More Brial here (2009 Saint-Bacchus awards) and here, my Oct. 2010 "wotm": 2009 Dom Ici Chardonnay/Macabeu.
Plus the latest medal winner is HERE (World Grenache Competition 2013).

Cave des Vignerons, 66390 Baixas. Tel: 04 68 64 22 37, contact@dom-brial.com, www.dom-brial.com.


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