Home > Image, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > The Wines of Collioure

The Wines of Collioure


Collioure, Image by Eugene W. Nourminsky (flickr)

Collioure is a small village located in the extreme south-west corner of France.  Located in the foothills of the Pyrenees it is exceedingly close to the Spanish border.  Once part of the Kingdom of Aragon its cuisine is still Catalan in nature. 

Crop from The Pyrenees, Baedeker's Southern France, 1914

The vineyards of Collioure produce two types of wines the vin deux naturel Banyuls and the dry red wine Collioure.  Banyuls was first made by the Knights Templars in the middle ages and has long been the most famous wine of the region.  Banyuls was one of the first appellations granted back in 1936.  Collioure was granted appellation status in 1971.  Until then, it was known as Banyuls Sec.

Collioure Vineyards, Image by Lubin S (flickr)

Collioure and Banyuls comprise approximately 2000 hectares of vineyards of which only 330 hectares are in the Collioure appellation.  This area is practically limited by the Spanish border, the Mediterranean sea, and the mountains.  The vineyards lie up to 400 meters in altitude.  Depending upon location the microclimate tilts towards Mediterranean or mountainous influences.  The lower soils closer to the sea are alluvial in nature where those higher in altitude, near the mountains, are of limestone and schiste.  The vineyards tend to be terraced with stone walls to control occasional heavy rainfall.  This area is very dry with periods of six months between rain.  As a result cactus grows here.

Vineyards Near Collioure 1980s, Image by NickD2008 (flickr)

The red wines of Collioure are made from at least 60% Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre with up to 30% from Carignan and Cinsault.  Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre may not exceed 90% of the blend.  The vines are trained as gobolet (bush vine) except for the delicate Syrah which is trained on wires.  Because it is difficult to mechanically till the vineyards weedkillers may be used and are even sprayed from helicopters.

Collioure is also famous as an artistic community.  Many artists including Andre Derain, Henri Matisee, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all painted here.  More recently, Patrick O’Brien, the author of the Aubrey-Maturin novels lived here.

Andre Derain, Mountains at Collioure, 1905 National Gallery of Art

Henri Matisse, La Mer Vue a Collioure, 1906

Charles Renee Mackintosh, The Fort, 1925-1926

Only a small portion of this low production wine is imported into the states.  Through MacArthur Beverages, Bacchus Importers Ltd., and Soul Wine I have been able to collect these wines.  Jenn and I have tasted through seven different wines and I will be posting my tasting notes throughout this week.

  • 2007 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Cosprons Levants, Collioure
  • 2005 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Cosprons Levants, Collioure
  • 2007 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure
  • 2005 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure
  • 2007 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure
  • 2004 Coume del Mas, Schistes, Collioure
  • 2003 Coume del Mas, Quadratur, Collioure

    Collioure Vineyards Near the Sea, Image by nitot (flickr)

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