The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 120

26 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 { discoveries } IN MANY WAYS, ROUSSILLON IS A WINE garden of Eden, its hills tumbling down to the Mediterranean, giving shelter to a wide range of terroirs that provide a diversity of wines and styles not found elsewhere in France in such a small region. Tucked up against the border with northeastern Spain—Barcelona is less than a two-hour drive away—Roussillon has a strong infusion of Catalan culture that, while still French, is French with a Spanish twist. "In Roussillon, we have a combination of tra - dition, terroir and new ideas," says Eric Aracil, Export Director of Vins du Roussillon. "We have 20 centuries of winemaking tradition and know-how that have been practiced in a variety of micro-climates. Additionally, many of today's young winemakers have first gone elsewhere and come back with new ideas." The driest and warmest of France's wine - growing regions, Roussillon has 14 different AOP-certified production areas and 3 GPIs and allows 23 different grape varieties to be officially grown there. The weather is perfect for organic and biodynamic farming, and Roussillon is the French leader in those categories. Roussillon is first of all a land with a great variety of dry reds and rosés (83 percent in total). White wines come next in volume, but Roussillon's sweet vins doux naturels, only five percent of production, account for four out of five bottles of VDNs grown in France. As with many traditional winegrowing areas, more than half of the 4,150 wine estates are fam - ily owned and run, with an average size of about 25 acres or 10 hectares. In total, there are 380 independent wineries and 24 cooperative cel- lars. Total production is about 98 million bottles. The grape varieties are both traditional to the area and international: Grenache Noir, Carignan Noir, Cinsault, Lladoner Pelut and Macabeu or Malvoisie lead traditional varieties, added to Syrah, Mourvèdre, Marsanne and Vermentino coming from the Rhône Valley and from Italy. Most wines produced have the broad clas - sifications of Côtes du Roussillon (red, white, rosé), Côtes du Roussillon les Aspres (red only) and Côtes du Roussillon Villages (red only), with four of those villages having their own identifi - cation as well: Latour de France, Lesquerde, Caramany and Tautavel. Additionally there are two stand-alone appellations: Maury (red wines only) and Collioure (red, white, rosé). As Aracil points out, the attractions of growing wine in Roussillon have not been lost on winemak - ers from such regions the Rhône Valley, Napa Valley and Australia, who have set up new wine- making operations in the region in recent years. Welcome to Eden. Roussillon by the Sea THE HILLS THAT BORDER CATALAN SPAIN AND THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA SHELTER FRANCE'S WINE GARDEN OF EDEN by Roger Morris Vines grow above the picturesque coastal town of Collioure in Roussillon.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - October/November 2014