The Wine Society has a spectacularly good range of wines from Roussillon, including some of the stars of the region, such as Domaine Gauby for vins secs, and wonderful old Rivesaltes from Domaine Rancy. Other treats include a rich Collioure from Domaine Augustin, from the Parcé family who have done so much for Banyuls and Collioure over the generations. They have also discovered Domaine Gardiés, whose wines really impressed me the first time I visited them last autumn. I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours with Vincent Gardiès, including a visit to their vineyards in the hills outside the village of Vingrau.
2018 Côtes du Roussillon Blanc, les Glacières - £13.50 – magnum £29.00
Vincent Gardiés is convinced that Roussillon has enormous unfulfilled potential for white wines. If this wine is anything to go by, I couldn’t possibly disagree. A blend of Grenache, both Blanc and Gris, as well as Roussanne, Marsanne and a little Malvoisie de Roussillon, which is also known as Tourbat, all aged in foudres for eight to ten months. Light colour. A fresh fragrant nose, with lemony fruit and herbal notes, and on the palate rounded fruit with very good acidity. It has a wonderful sapid quality, which leaves you wanting more. It is fresh and incisive, firm with a structured finish. And I would be intrigued to see how it ages.
A pair of reds, demonstrated the contrasts of Roussillon, with a fresher, more elegant wine for earlier drinking, and a rich concentrated wine that would benefit from some bottle age.
2018 les Millères, Côtes du Roussillon Villages - £13.50
Les Millères is the first red wine of their range, which Vincent deems to be representative of the region, with freshness, fruit and structure, made from Syrah and Grenache grown in Vingrau, and Carignan and Mourvèdre from Espira de l’Agly. Medium colour. Light red fruit on the nose. The palate is medium weight, fresh and nicely rounded with red fruit, supple tannins and a fresh finish.
2015 Clos des Vignes, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Tautavel - £17.00
This is more serious, coming from old vines, both Grenache and Carignan, and aged for twelve months in barriques and demi-muids. Deep colour. Ripe rounded, warm nose, with supple fruit. Very Grenache, with some cherry liqueur notes. On the palate lovely depth, with silky tannins, rounded and complete with ripe spice and concentration. Very harmonious, with a satisfying mouthfeel. The vines are in a clos, surrounded by small stone walls.