south of france
There is a vast amount of generic, bland wine made in the south. Flat, impoverished soils, baked in sunshine, left too long on the vine and mass blended. However, take a step in land, go up a few hills, and you will be absolutely amazed. At higher elevation, the impact of the coastal influence is more pronounced, cooling the vines, allowing for longer hang times & better development of the grape’s structure. There are little pockets of happiness, where truly delicious, elegant wines can be made. Very much true to their terroirs, with well integrated alcohols, bright energy, freshness and interesting suprises in the planting of native varietals such as Maccabeu & Carignan amongst the better known Grenache’s & Syrah’s. There’s also fantastic value to be found here, but you have to hunt for these artisans, small pockets ,old vines and those selfless, talented pioneers helping to bring them into being.
Côtes de Roussillon & Catalanes
Gauby, Le Soula, Clos des Fees, Roc des Anges….never heard of them? You soon will! These are some of the biggest names in wine pop culture today, highly revered and only available in limited quantities. With a climate suitable for fruit growing; cherries, plums & peaches there’s the soils and the climates to make terrific wines of real pedigree. With plenty of heat from the high elevation and long summers, alcohols can spike, but in the right hands, alcohols can be well integrated, character from the varietals allowed to come through the winemaking process, freshness to be retained along with bright energy. The resulting wines are full of expression and verve, capable of long ageing too where most mass produced will be designed to drink young. Indigenous grapes like Maccabeau, old Carignan plantations…there is a wealth of hidden gems, you just have to find them!
Corbieres is the area generally situated south of Narbonne and Carcassone and above Perpignan. Images conjur up local dishes, big on sauce, meat and veg, Cassoutel being a prime example. With its neighbour Minervois, these lands are somewhat wild and rich in nature, rugged and laden with rock formations and the like. Known for its rustic wines of good value and drinkability, with Syrah, Carignan and Grenache predominant grape varieties. There’s also a host of micro climates and varying soils, often found higher up to the mountains where the Mediteranean climate has a big impact along with the local winds. New producers are exploiting these micro climates, employing the latest winemaking techniques to produce mind-blowing wines that go way beyond average and into world class. Anything but bland, herbaceous, smooth, savoury & complex with balanced, well integrated alcohol.
See our producers Chateau La Baronne