Cotes de Roussillon like you've never seen, or tasted, it. Rich, full, svelte and with freshness that makes you want to keep coming back for more and more. It's a bomb of fruit (as they say themselves) showing notes of black cherry, cranberry, truffle and forest-floor. Delicious and moreish and impeccably well-made.
The village of Caramany is high in altitude, which is one of the reasons that the grapes can reach such high levels of ripeness, while retaining freshness. It's a diurnal temperature feature that is one of the Holy Grail checklist items for fine wine making in today's world of increasing temperatures... The gneiss and granite soils are notoriously poor and acidic, further helping the superb quality and balance of the vines.
This is hand-harvest territory, too - you couldn't get a tractor up here if you tried - and the wine is aged, interestingly, in second-use barrels that were used for white wine. Just more elegance.
Though your eyes may roll at the concept for two friends who want to "break the rules of the vineyard" you have to remember context: many winemakers in Europe are completely confined by often arbitrary regulations of local, vested interests. Look again, then and judge on quality. In other words, we think it's all well and good to aspire to break the rules but only if you can show us that what you've done without them is worth the noise.
This is very much the case here. These are vibrant, engaging and generous wines that are made not to shock, but to enjoy. Stylistically very much from the South, they take best sites and appellations in Roussillon and Languedoc and seek to create an identity of their own around these villages whose own reputations are rapidly growing. The wines certainly benefit from the warmth, terroir and indigenous varieties (mostly...) that are so much part of the South of France experience, making these wines point us in a new direction: they bring you a little down the road and say "this is where we should be going", rather than forcing you to go there. All good for us.
The other side to their project is their principled stance around the ecological impact of the wine industry - they boarder a position that is perilously close to being tiresome in their determination to be part of saving the planet. Organic (ir in organic conversion); Carbon-neutral; eco-friendly locally-sourced recycled lighter-weight glass bottles; bio-diversity in planting hundreds of trees and building bee hives... and a large part of our reaction has been that this is excellent, and we are really glad to support that sort of a business, SO LONG AS the wines are good! And, again, they really are.
This, then, is good; it's very, very good. Mad labels? We don't mind - if it catches the attention of new drinkers and pays homage to a local historic artist at the same time, it's no bad thing... just check that the wines are worth it... not to sound like a stuck record or anything, it's just that it really is important...!
Grape(s): Syrah, Grenache, Carignan
Style: Svelte, Powerful, Intense, Full, Fruity, Fresh, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Venison, Steak, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Grills, Game