A powerful and focussed, concentrated red that will make you reach for the bottle to find out more about this wonderful region and its wines. It'll make you reconsider Roussillon, as well as Grenache, as your eyes are opened to this sensational and much-overlooked, classic region deep in the South of France.
It is essentially a powerful wine, but opens with freshness before delivering its amazing smooth body and texture; red and black fruit flavours with generous tannic grip and a long juicy finish. It has superb balance with the perfect amount of extraction, leading to subtle spice notes that come directly from the grapes - there is no oak ageing at all in the wine... it's frankly not needed.
The vines are grown in vineyards set in ancient, dry-stone-wall terraces and many are over 100 years old. Blended with some Carignan and Syrah, it is a wine that sees almost no winemaking: virtually unfiltered, unfined and with almost no stabilisation, it ages in vat and bottle for just over a year before release.
Very limited in availability, the production of this wine is less than 3 barrels, or about 1320 bottles.
The Collioure appellation covers the same area for the production of Banyuls (which is the fortified wine), meaning that is takes in the villages of Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbère. Corral d'en Pi, or Corral of Pines, comes from the village of Banyuls, where you can pick grapes in the soaring hear and in only a matter of minutes later, be bathing in the Med.
This stunning expression of the Roussillon region in the South of France is one of our most exciting discoveries. If you know the city of Perpignan, you're a stone's throw from these terraces of ancient, often gnarled, yet wonderful vines. Grown in the most part for dessert wines, this is part of a recent push for dry, complex and concentrated reds that have for decades been overlooked. Also a matter of a few kilometres away is the border with Spain - and here, the region that continues to grow similar Grenache vineyards is Priorat, famed for quality and price! This then is an opportunity for Roussillon to become the next top region in France for the production of seriously high-quality reds. And it's an opportunity for you to get them at killer price points!
This wine comes from the French wine-making project of Allotment-friend and Master Of Wine (and general good-bloke) Fergal Tynan. He's originally from Celbridge and now has fantastic and fanatic wine making projects across the globe. Never far from Grenache or Garnacha, this particular set of wines comes from France and sits under the label they created called Terres Fidèles, which literally means "faithful lands", as a nod to authenticity, traditions and integrity of wine making styles. The team here have identified grape varieties that many others ignore in favour of middle-of-the-road commercialised styles; working with seriously small and tatty-looking plots of land, this is a labour of love and a project that will be years and years in the making before anyone makes any return on investment. But until then, we get the sensational fruit of their labours...!
This is the top range, the old-vines Grenache-based wines under the Fidèle label. The quality is off the charts; old vines, tiny parcels, micro-climates and special site selection make the fruit selection a joy (when it isn't overripe) and the triumph is the harnessing of natural extremes. High temperatures, low rainfall, strong winds and drought in the soils: the wines show incredible energy and tension and a powerful generosity.
Steep slopes? Have a look at just how steep the land is in the second photo, taken from the Tour du Madeloc in September 2023. Mind-blowing switch-back roads and terrace upon terrace that make the grape growing possible in the first place.
Grape(s): Syrah, Grenache, Carignan
Style: Structured, Smooth, Rich, Powerful, Medium, Juicy, Intense, Full, Fruity, Elegant, Dry, Dark, Complex, Balanced
Best food matches: Veal, Tapas, Steak, Roasts, Ribs, Red Meats, Pizza, Pasta, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Casseroles, Beef, Barbecue