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08 January 2024

Languedoc: Malepère.

The casse-croûte of the cassoulet in Malepère.

Located to the northwest of Limoux and southwest of Carcassonne, Malepère is the most westerly of the Languedoc's appellations and probably one of the least known wine areas in the whole region. There's an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and Atlantic vine types, and the local wine people have cooked up an interesting story around how climatic influences from both 'sides' suit these nevertheless dissimilar grape varieties (seven authorised).

13 December 2023

Languedoc: Limoux.

Château de Flandry, Limoux.

Perhaps not that famous outside of France (although many of the wines recommended here are well distributed in Europe and North America), the Limoux region stretches mostly to the south, west and north of the visit-worthy town of Limoux in southwestern Languedoc, about half an hour south of Carcassonne. The vineyards are often planted on hillsides enhancing the slightly cooler climate this area enjoys, which is home to some classy sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir among others.

04 December 2023

Roussillon: the south.

The final rant of 2023 about the Roussillon covers my favourites encountered earlier this year from the Côte Vermeille: mainly Collioure white wines (rosé is here), Banyuls Vin Doux Naturel (VDN) sweet fortified wines (including some old vintages), and neighbouring Côtes du Roussillon (white and red) that miss the Collioure appellation (of little importance apart from the price they can charge!).

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.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.