Sunday, December 17, 2017

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  • Sunday, December 17, 2017

Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon



Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon

This year marks 40 years of recognition of the AOC status of Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon Villages. Although winemaking in the region goes back hundreds of years, it was only in 1977 when this southern France wine region was formally recognized as an AOP by the INAO. Moreover, it only achieved this status because of the 40+ years of work by Roussillon producers prior to 1977.

I have personally been a fan of wines from Roussillon for many years thanks to the high quality and good value on offer. The AOC Côtes du Roussillon produces crisp white wines, fruity rosés and powerful reds, while wines from the AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages are entirely made up of red wines. The primary red wine grapes are Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Carignan, in particular, is notable for its high quality from historic old vines that can be over 100 years old. Among white wines, the primary grapes are Grenache Blanc, Macabeu, and Tourbat. Most of the wines produced in Roussillon are blends.

The AOP Côtes du Roussillon is the largest of the Roussillon appellations, covering an area of 4695 hectares spread over 102 municipalities in the Pyrénées-Orientales region. Both the white wine and the first red wine listed below come from this large appellation. The Latour de France is a sub-appellation of the AOP Côtes du Roussillon Villages covering 202 hectares in the northern part of the appellation and features mainly grey schist soils.

Wine Appellations of Roussillon

Surrounding the AOC Côtes du Roussillon are three mountain chains and the sea. To the north is the Corbières, the Pyrénées and the Mont Canigou are on the west side, the Albères is down south, and to the east is the Mediterranean Sea. Eighty percent of the vines are located on hillsides, and combined with the hot Mediterranean climate with minimal rainfall, helping create wines that are complex, aromatic and fresh.

Soil types are varied across the region, with a mix of granitic sand and gneiss, black and grey schist, red clay soils, sandy clay, and pebbly terraces.

To get a taste of what Roussillon offers, here are three quality wines that I enjoyed on and are a small sample of the various styles of wine you can expect from Roussillon. All three of these wines arrived in LCBO VINTAGES earlier this year. These wines are nearly sold out across the province, with only limited availability now.

To learn more about this fascinating wine region, visit Roussillon Wines.

40 Years of AOP Côtes du Roussillon & Villages

Tasting Notes:

LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
Blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Macabeu, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Vermentino. Floral, lemon, and tropical fruit aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring grapefruit, lemon peel, white floral, and herbally notes, with a fine mineral component throughout. It's medium+ bodied and round on the palate with a nice mineral texture. Dry flavour profile features grapefruit, herbs, and floral notes, and a touch waxy. Juicy acids. The finish length is good, ending with a flinty mineral note. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88 pts

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

LE PUIG CARIGNANE DE LA PERPIGNANE 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon, France (#480988) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine was raised in concrete tank and consists of 60% Carignane and 40% Grenache. Faint aromas of black plum and dark berry from the cork. In the glass, this leads with a mineral and iron nose followed by dark berry/cherry, kirsch, menthol, and spice aromas. Also some meaty aromas with air. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fresh, balanced acids and ripe, dark berry and peppery spice flavours laced with earthy minerality. Supple, gritty tannins add texture, while the finish is juicy with good length. Drink over the next 4-5 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Le Puig Carignane de la Perpignane 2013 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE L’AGLY LATOUR DE FRANCE LES CIMES 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France (#480897) (XD) - $29.95
From a 12 hectare vineyard with mica schist and blue granite soils at 300 metres elevation in the magnificent Agly Valley, this is a blend of 35% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, and 13% Carignan brought up in barrique (one-third new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Earthy, dark berry and smoke aromas from the cork. Very ripe and fruit forward on the nose with raspberry, blackberry, crushed rocks, flowers and touches of vanilla. The seamless palate is bright and medium-full bodied with balanced dark berry, blackberry, white pepper, along with hints of violet and meaty flavours, Acids are very bright. Tannins have some grip and gain volume over time. The finish length is very good with some fine mineral notes. Drink over the next 6-8 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

Domaine de l’Agly Latour de France Les Cimes 2013 (90 pts)


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