Wines of Roussillon, France: A world of diversity.

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Just by looking at the labels of these wines, one word came to my mind: Diversity.

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And this impression, of course, was confirmed after tasting the wines… The Roussillon is one of the smallest French production areas (about 2% of the total volume), but they have pretty much every style of wine on the book! With wines being produced from 23 different grape varieties and a very diverse “terroir” (the vineyards stretch across very varied terrains), the result is that the wines have very distinctive personalities.

 

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Roussillon is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France.

(the pink part at the bottom of the map)

 

A blessing or a curse?

Even if produced under the same style (Red, White, Rosé, or Vins Doux Naturel), what you will get in the glass is almost invariably a surprise. This can be great if you are a #winelover looking for a new experience, but it doesn’t work so well if you are looking for something that tastes consistently familiar. Combine that with the very small outcome (harsh climate and poor soils limit production to 35 hl per hectare) and you will rarely find mass production wines like the one from Languedoc (its neighboring region to the northeast, to which its hyphenated with -“Languedoc-Roussillon” – but, besides sharing the name, there’s not much else linking the two regions. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, diversity is a huge plus for a region!

It’s definitely a blessing.

 

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Here are the six wines we tasted during the Snooth event on the 5th of April and some of the pictures and tweets describing the wines by some fellow #winelover-s:

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Côtes du Roussillon blanc : M. Chapoutier, Les Vignes de Bila Haut (2014)
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Grape varieties: Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeu.

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Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel : Gérard Bertrand, Tautavel Grand Terroir (2011)

Grape varieties: 50% Grenache – 35% Syrah – 15% Carignan

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Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres : Château Planères, La Romanie (2013)
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Grape varieties: 50 % Syrah – 30 % Mourvèdre – 20 % black Grenache
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,  : Domaine Cabirau, Cuvée Serge et Nicolas (2013)
A blend of 60% old-vine Grenache, 28% Syrah and 12 % Carignan.

TASTING NOTES: The softness of Grenache is balanced by the mineral backbone extracted from the schistous soils. The Syrah and Carignan add pronounced spicy and peppery components. Intense yet subtle…

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Banyuls Rimage : Domaine La Tour Vieille (2014)
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Grape varieties : Grenache Noir – Carignan

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Muscat de Rivesaltes : Domaine Cazes (2011)
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Grape varieties: 50% Muscat of Alexandria – 50% Muscat à petits grains

A big thank you to Meg Houston Maker, Dezel Quillen, and Dallas Wine Chick for their pics and comments! Follow them on twitter by clicking on their names.
Cheers,
Luiz Alberto
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