7 Must-Try Roussillon Wines

7 Must-Try Roussillon Wines

Apart of Languedoc-Roussillon鈥擣rance鈥檚 largest wine-producing region鈥擱oussillon is located within the southern Pyr茅n茅es-

Orientales department, adjacent to Northern Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. Although the AOPs of the Languedoc鈥攅specially Corbi猫res, Minervois and C么teaux du Languedoc鈥攈ave typically garnered more attention and renown in years past, now is the time to turn your atttention to this exciting, high-quality region.

A small, unique area, Roussillon boasts ideal conditions for grape growing. It鈥檚 shaped like an amphitheater, and is open to the Mediterranean Sea on the east and three mountain ranges鈥攖he Corbi猫res, the Pyrenees and Alb猫res鈥攖o the north, west and south, respectively. The landscape is varied and the climate sunny, with three rivers that travel through the region, helping define the topography and characterize the terroir.

Roussillon produces 90% of all AOP-certified vins doux naturels, and they do it well, with a long history of production. But that does not mean the table wines should be overlooked, and, in fact, the 2011 vintage is proving to be an exemplary one, resulting in wines of excellent ripeness, superb structure, ample acidity and the potential to age gracefully.

There aren鈥檛 many AOPs within the region, with the most popular being C么tes du Roussillon and C么tes du Roussillon Villages. There are subzones within those areas, including Les Aspres within C么tes du Roussillon and Caramany, Latour de France, Lesquerde and Tautavel within C么tes du Roussillon Villages. The only other AOPs are Collioure and Maury Sec.

The wines are typically blended, although not necessarily, and favor Mediterranean grapes like Grenache, Syrah, Mourv猫dre, Carignan and Cinsault, among others. They often exhibit notes of ripe black fruit, savory herbs and potentially oak-influenced notes of toast, mocha or sweet spice. The best thing of all, though, is since they still fly under the radar on retail shelves, they are competitvely priced and represent amazing values.

Although Roussillon takes center stage in this issue鈥檚 Buying Guide, we also give a nod to France鈥檚 other wine-producing regions, including Burgundy and Alsace. Elsewhere in Europe, we also review the latest crop of Amarones, 2011 vintage Ports and new releases from Spain and Austria. From the New World, check out reviews of wines from Argentina, plus hundreds of wines from California, Washington and Virginia.


93 G茅rard Bertrand 2011 Tautavel Hommage aux Vignerons (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). This is a dense, concentrated and expressive wine, although it鈥檚 still young and promises more beauty and elegance with age. Aromas of African violets and cocoa nibs marry harmoniously with the fleshy black-fruit core. Jammy, ripe plum and cherry flavors lead the lush and slightly creamy palate, transitioning into notes of roasted coffee and chocolate, and finally ending on a sweet toasted-oak and baking-spice accent. It鈥檚 richly delicious now, but patience will also be rewarded; try after 2016. Gerard Bertrand USA. Editors鈥 Choice. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 15% 聽 聽 聽 Price: $35

91 Ch芒teau Avernus 2005 Tautavel (C么tes du Roussillon). This blend of 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 10% Mourv猫dre is not showing its true age. Sure, it boasts some developed notes of charcuterie, balsamic herb and garrigue, but it鈥檚 also still brimming with full, ripe black-fruit notes of plum and berry. With a crushed velvet texture, gripping tannins and a long, heady finish that鈥檚 laced with hints of espresso and vanilla, this shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Enjoy now, or try after 2016. Hand Picked Selections. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 14% 聽 聽 聽 Price: $39

91 G茅rard Bertrand 2011 Grand Terroir Tautavel Grenache-Syrah-Carignan (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). This is an immediately attractive and approachable wine, with direct and intense aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum and boysenberry accented by notes of sweet smoke, mocha and pepper. Firm yet approachable, this is well-balanced with structured tannins and ample acidity. Drink from 2015-2018. Gerard Bertrand USA. Editors鈥 Choice. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 14% 聽 聽 聽 聽Price: $20

91 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau 2009 Silex (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). Crushed purple-violet aromas mingle with a blend of black berry and cherry notes, all dusted with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and baking spice. The mouthfeel is full and round, with firm, tightly structured tannins and an evolving, spice-driven finish. Hand Picked Selections. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 15% 聽 聽 聽 聽Price: $44

90 G茅rard Bertrand 2010 Grand Terroir Tautavel Grenache-Syrah-Carignan (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). Pressed purple flower, brambly blackberry, boysenberry and black cherry flesh take center stage on this rich, decadent wine. Nuances of oaky spice add depth to the lushly textured palate, with big tannins and a firm, mouthfilling texture that lingers long into the finish. Attractive now, but should also age well through the next three years. Gerard Bertrand USA. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 14.5% 聽 聽 Price: $19

90 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau 2009 Les Vingt Marches (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). Dried black raspberry and cherry fruit aromas are accented by hints of forest floor, licorice and sweet spice on the nose of this Syrah, Grenache and Carignan blend. The medium-weight palate offers plum- and cherry-skin flavors, while a peppery spice lingers on the finish alongside a firm tannic grip. Hand Picked Selections. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 15% 聽 聽 聽 Price: $28

90 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau 2009 Roc Amour (C么tes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel). A rich and dense selection, this offers intense aromas and flavors of black plum, boysenberry and blackberry, layered with notes of milk chocolate, licorice root and baking spice. The texture is full but not overdone, with a firm yet approachable tannins and a lingering finish. Hand Picked Selections. 鈥擫.B.
abv: 15% 聽 聽 聽 Price: $36

For more top-rated wines from Roussillon, check out the Buying Guide >>>

Published on November 7, 2013
Topics: RatingsRoussillonWine