Flavor Profiles and a Brief History of France’s Roussillon Wines

 Roussillon Wines

Photo Courtesy of (Richard Semik) | Shutterstock

Here are tasting notes from some of their resulting standouts:

2008 Chteau de Jau Ctes du Roussillon Villages: Rich and buttery on the bouquet; strong minerality expands throughout the mouth. This wine fires up spicy Thai and Mexican dishes in interesting directions, seeming to neutralize salty snacks after just one sip. A sophisticated interplay of just the right tannins and fruits make the overall flavor profile tightly knit.

Francois Lurton Mas Janeil 2009: Nothing berry about this one. Fresh ripe melon juice with light and distinct flavoring carrying through as an entirely different flavor dimension from sip to swallow. I can see this fine Ctes du Roussillon-Villages from Francois Lurton being an elegant picnic wine. This is a clear instance of a dark red wine being utterly refreshing, more like a Pinot Grigio, and so light that your wine glass exudes the potency of fresh spring breezes. No weighty pondering here, just perfectly balanced drinking.

Flavor Profiles and a Brief History of France’s Roussillon Wines

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Posted: Apr. 23rd, 2013 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment

Vineyards of the Roussillon

Photo Courtesy of (Richard Semik) | Shutterstock

To fully appreciate a wine is to be intimately familiar with its geographical origins and vinicultural heritage. Wines from France’s Roussillon region certainly exemplify this truism. Vineyards are surrounded by three mountain ranges yielding wide topographical variety and soils — the Corbieres to the North, the Pyrenees with Mont Canigou to the West, the Alberes to the South, and to the East ocean and mountains meet below on the Pyrénées-Orientales (widely referred to as an amphitheater to the Mediterranean’s cooling breezes). Three rivers, the Agly, Tet, and Tech carve through valleys, each providing a unique terroir graced each year with at least 2,500 hours of intense sunlight. Sweeping down from the mountains, Tramontana winds naturally deter vine diseases that befall even the best run vineyards elsewhere.

Greek seafarers from Corinth, settling in the welcoming inlets of the Côte Vermeille, were the first to take advantage of the Roussillon’s unique geographical features (with vines taking root in 7th century B.C.). Up through the Middle Ages, home vineyards commonly produced raisined wines (over-matured or honey added versions), adding special herbal and spice mixtures elevating them to the status of ‘nectar’, the mythical drink of the gods notably celebrated by Catalan troubadours. These early influences can still be tasted in today’s sweet wines, like Rivesaltes Ambre varietals.

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