Roussillon Wine South of France
Learn about Roussillon wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...
Defined by the rugged eastern edge of the Pyrenees Mountains and near-constant sunshine, Roussillon is a region rich in Spanish history and influence. In fact, the Roussillon people mainly identify with being Catalan rather than French or Occitan.
Roussillon has been a culture of viticulture since the 7th century BC and not surprisingly, highly influenced by Spain in their winemaking techniques and wine styles. Furthermore, the arid, exposed, steep and uneven valleys of this so-called Pyrénées-Orientales zone, guarantee that grape yields are low and berries are small and concentrated. The region was quick to adopt a specific fortification process (locally called mutage), introduced by a Catalan physician in the 13th century. Seen as beneficial to the region’s whites, soon Roussillon also applied the process to the vinification of Grenache. Mutage involves fortifying the grape must (or must and skins together depending on desired effect) with a neutral grape spirit to arrest fermentation, resulting in a slightly sweet, high alcohol (15-18%), but still varietally expressive and aromatically complex wine called, vin doux naturel. Two clones of Muscat and Grenache of various colors are mainly responsible for the excellent vins doux naturels in the notable sub-appellations of Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury.
More recently modern winemaking techniques, coupled with a near perfect climate and optimal soils, altitudes and exposures have allowed Roussillon to quickly escalate the quality and popularity of its dry red wines as well, namely those of Maury, Cotes du Roussillon-Villages and Collioure.
Hecht & Bannier Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2010Other Red Blends from Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, Roussillon, South of France, France