Posts Tagged ‘Collioure’

Three wines tasted while in Albuquerque

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

I made a 10 minute visit to the wine store during our recent trip to Albuquerque. I believed I picked up a bottle of Stolpman a year prior so there was no time wasted in grabbing the 2011 Stolpman, Syrah Estate, Santa Ynez Valley.  This youthful wine had youthful flavors that we all enjoyed.  I suppose you could enjoy it over the short term but why wait?  Another type of wine that I always buy are those from Collioure.  Unfortunately, the 2010 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure  reminded me of raisins of which I lost interest after a few sips.  Finally, I grabbed a half bottle of 2007 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Volant.  My inspiration came from tasting the demi-john aged versions, labeled en bonbonne, at the Rhone Rangers tasting last year.  I thought this 2007 regular version would offer up some bottle aged flavors but it did not.  Instead it was very young with a lot of zip, so much so I would have guessed an upbringing in demi-john.  Keep this one in your cellar.  These wines were purchased at Jubilation Wine and Spirits in Albuquerque.


2011 Stolpman, Syrah Estate, Santa Ynez Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.4%.  There was a lively start with youthful bright black and red fruit on the tongue.  The flavors were young with some texture, a little weight, and a hint of ripeness in the black, minerally finish.  With air tart black flavors developed along with chocolate and more weight.  There were some ripe tannins in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2018.


2010 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure – $24
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Carignan, and 15% Mourvedre sourced from 35-70 year old vines.  Alcohol 14.7%.  The flavors were ripe and clearly bordering on the raisin end of the spectrum.  The flavors of candied fruit lay low, bound up with good acidity and some structure.  Strange.  * Now.


2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard, Le Cigare Volant – $17 (375 mL)
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, and 4% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.4%.  In the mouth were not-quite robust flavors that were lively and dry.  The was still quite a grapey structure integrated with the cherry and raspberry flavors.  The wine tastes remarkably preserved and timeless.  ** 2017-2025.


Two From Collioure

The wines of Collioure pop-up in the area from time to time.  Those from Domaine La Tour Vieille have appeared in my posts before but never those of Tramontane.  The 2011 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure while clearly young, showed high-toned red fruit that was more structured.  The 2009 Tramontane, Collioure perhaps benefitted from the bottle age to be rather aromatic and sport some complexity.  It was the more generous of the two but maintained an attractive integration of the aromas and flavors.   I like to drink good wines from Collioure for they live on the edge, representing the wild terrain and the warmth of the sun.  These wines were purchased at The Wine Source in Baltimore.


2011 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure – $22.50
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Carignan, and 15% Mourvedre sourced from 35-70 year old vines on soils of schist.  It was aged for 12 months in vats.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed firmer red aromas.    In the mouth were high-toned flavors of red fruit and minerals.  The wine was initially rounded with some toast notes and a little heat on the back of the throat.  With air the wine balanced out to show hard, red fruit, tart berries, some roast, and cinnamon-like spices.  There was a tangy finish and aftertaste.  **(*) 2016-2024.


2009 Tramontane, Collioure – $22.50
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Grenache sources from old vines on soils of schist.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was more aromatic with dried floral aromas, pastilles, and spices.  In the mouth were richer flavors of red fruit followed by lots of flavor from fine, powdery and ripe red blue fruit.  There was a  little bit of tannins and a touch of lively acidity on the tongue tip.  With air there were some cinnamon notes, wood box, and more tannins.  It developed flavors of raspberry supported by good acidity and followed by a floral finish.  *** Now-2024.


Four From France

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Of the four wines below you may drink the 2012 Domaine La Ferme Saint-Martin, La gerine while the 2009 Domaine La Casenove, La Garrigue ages.  The later was surprisingly well balanced and remained tight over two nights so definitely leave it alone in the cellar.  The 2009 Domaine du Traginer, Collioure is approachable at this point but I would cellar it to develop complexity.   I gather the 2011 Axel Prufer, Four du roi, Le temps de cerises is a “natural wine”.  The nose is certainly unique and stimulating to smell.  Otherwise it is a grapey wine to drink now.  It was not my preferred style.  The Domaine La Casenove was purchased at MacArthur Beverages and the rest at Chambers Street Wines.


2009 Domaine La Casenove, La Garrigue, Cotes Catalanes – $18
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 30% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose remained tight with whiffs of herbs and black fruit.  In the mouth were concentrated ripe fruit, a hint of woodbox, and a Bordeaux like nature.  With air there were focused ripe, black fruit, cool acidity before becoming dry and firm in the finish.  There was good clean, balance all around so this wine should develop quite well.  **(*) 2015-2025.


2009 Domaine du Traginer, Collioure – $19
Imported by De Maison Selections.  This wine is a blend of 25% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 25% Carignan.  Alcohol 13.5%,  The wine starts a little soft and encompassing then builds good blue fruit with texture and some tartness.  The tannins were enjoyable and evident in the finish, along with acidity.  This is a young but approachable example of affordable Collioure.  **(*) 2015-2022.


2012 Domaine La Ferme Saint-Martin, La gerine, Ventoux – $13
Imported by Fruit of the Vines.  Alcohol 13%.  The flavors were a little tart with red fruit and orange peel that became a little round.  The ripe citric acidity on the tongue mixed with the orange and red flavors.  The wine was on the lighter side but had serious, young fruit.  Despite the fruity  structure this is an early drinking wine.  ** Now-2014.


2011 Axel Prufer, Four du roi, Le temps de cerises – $23
Imported by Fruit of the Vines. This wine is a blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 30% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon with was produced using carbonic maceration and no sulphur. Alcohol 12%.  The nose bore a mixture of old and vintage perfumes, evocative of a 1980s “country store.”  The wine was prickly at first then settled down, like a grapey natural wine with red fruit.  The flavors were acidity driven with plenty of mid-plate acidity and the tiniest Pilsner hint.  ** Now.


Two More Recent Vintages

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Back in November we drank the 2005 Clos Fardet, Cuvee Moutoue Fardet.  Both 2005 and 2009 bottles from Clos Fardet are still available for $16.  I recommend purchasing the 2005 for it is a good, interesting wine whereas the 2009 was just a decent drink.  The Clos Fardet was purchased at MacArthurs.

In June we drank the 2007 Domaine la Tour Vielle.  The 2007 was attractive to drink and the 2008 is a good follow on.  While I preferred the 2007 for its ripe, savory, inkiness the 2008 has an engaging sea-side personality.  I certainly over payed for my 2008 bottle so if you can find it for $19 or less, then give it a go!  Otherwise get the 2007.   The Domaine la Tour Vielle was purchased at The Vineyard in McLean, VA.

2009 Clos Fardet, Madiran – $16
Imported by Wine Traditions.  This is a blend of ~80% Tannat and ~20% Cabernet Franc Drunk over two nights this wine is a medium opaque ruby with purple tinge.  There is a light+ nose of candied fruit and floral notes.  The flavors follow the nose but are leaner in the mouth.  The delicate fruit is structured with medium+ drying tannins which coat the inside of the lips.  Delicate flavors persist in the aftertaste.  This bottle was slow to change.

2008 Domaine la Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure – $24
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan.  The light nose does not reveal much.  In the mouth the saline red fruit is medium bodied with gently supple delivery.  It tastes of the sea with cool notes of raspberry and cranberry, sweet, ripe tannins, and a dark finish.  The aftertaste leaves sweet, ripe flavors on the tongue.  I would drink this over the next five years.

Pictures from La Coume del Mas

The Winery, Image from La Coume del Mas

I emailed La Coume del Mas last week asking for additional information about 2004 Schistes and 2003 Quadratur and for any additional images. Andy Cook emailed back this week.  Andy Cook joined La Coume del Mas several years ago where he helps out with vinification, sales, English speaking, and technology.  Here is a link to an article Andy wrote for Tom Cannavan’s Wine Page about La Coume del Mas back in 2006.  It is always a joy to receive correspondance from a winery.  I will do my best to get ahold of the current vintages from European Cellars.

Peyrefitte Parcel, Image from La Coume del Mas

“Schistes 2004 is 100% Grenache Noir, tank fermented with a total maceration time of 3-4 weeks. The grapes are hand-harvested and hand-sorted upon arrival in the winery. They are destemmed and crushed into tank. The wine is 100% wild yeast ferment and ferments at around 28C. The wine is pressed and aged in tank with no racking. It is bottled after 6-8 months.”

A Full Press, Image from La Coume del Mas

“Quadratur 2003 is 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan. This cuvée is from our oldest vines, higher in altitude and away from the sea. The Carignan vines are over 100 years old. As for Schistes, the grapes are hand picked and sorted. The 3 varietals are vinified separately. There is longer maceration and more extraction work on this wine (punchdowns and pumping over). Once pressed, the wine is aged in barrel for 12-14 months in 225l French barriques (around 30% new oak).”

Cuves, Image from La Coume del Mas

Coume del Mas, Collioure

July 1, 2011 1 comment

Unfortunately this is my last post on the wines of Collioure.  I have not found any other red Collioure wines to try in the Washington, DC area.  The only other bottle that I have drunk was the 1996 Domaine la Tour Vieille that was drunk this winter.  If you see any bottl of Collioure do let me know!

The Coume del Mas estate was started by the Gard family in 2000.  There are 12 hectares of vineyards that are comprised of 25 year old established vines and new vines recently planted.  Most of the land and vines are tended by hand but in some areas a horse may be used for plowing.

The Peyrefitte Parcel, Image from the Coume del Mas Blog

These wines are imported by European Cellars and were sold at MacArthur’s several years ago.  I bought them for the amazing price of $14 per bottle due to a distributor closeout!  Jenn and I really, really enjoyed the 2004 Schistes.  I found that the 2003 Quadratur showed too much wood tannins.  Current prices for the 2007 vintage range from $22-$32 for the Schistes and $34 for the Quadratur.  I would certainly grab a bottle of the 2007 Schistes at the lower price range.

2004 Coume del Mas, Schistes, Collioure
This wine is a blend of 90% – 100% Grenache and 0% – 10% Carignan.  It is fermented and aged in tank for 8-12 months.  There is a light nose of dark fruits.  This enjoyable, complex wine unveils gobs of medium-bodied fruit flavors with grippy blue fruits, and some incense-like herbs.  It leaves perfumed flavors on the side of the mouth.  It is not supple but has good weight and a gritty aftertaste.  With air it continues to be youthful and develops dusty, minerals and stones.  Jenn particularly liked it.  *** Now-2017.

2004 Coume del Mas, Schistes, Collioure
Tasted 20 December 2007
This was recommended to me. A Grenache/Carignan blend with a gorgeous color in the glass best described as inky, deep-blue and red-garnet. Young in that the nose is slow to reveal itself and tastes of hidden pleasures yet to come. It is medium-bodied with concentration, supple to drink with a slowly expanding finish. A great deal at $14.

2003 Coume del Mas, Quadratur, Collioure
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Carignan.  It is aged for 12 months in 70% new oak and 30% tank.  This is a structured wine that has redder fruit and prominent wood tannins.  There is a linear delivery of the fruit flavors that combine with dry herbs.  It slowly puts on weight but never becomes as complex as the Schistes.  It gets a little wild in the finish.  ** Now-2017.

2003 Coume del Mas, Quadratur, Collioure
Tasted 31 January 2008
This was medium-ruby in the glass with a light nose of red berries hinting at future complexity. Berry and spice flavors that quickly expand in the mouth, followed quickly by not-shy fine tannins. With air it develops the creaminess marked by the Schistes. This is a bit more brighter and tannic than the Schistes but the family resemblance is there. Both are excellent.

The Quadratur Cork

The Schistes Cork

2007 Domaine la Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure

June 30, 2011 1 comment

Domaine la Tour Vieille, Image from Dme. la Tour Vieille

Domaine la Tour Vieille began when Vincent Cantie and Christine Campadieu joined their two small family domaines in Collioure and Banyuls.  The estate is comprised of 32 acres of vineyards located on steep terraced hills with stone walls for erosion control.  The land and grapes are worked by hand.

La Pinede, Image from Dme. la Tour Vieille

The cuvee La Pinede is named after the vineyard where the grapes are sourced.  It is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan. The Grenache vines are 30-40 years old and the Carignan vines are 40 years old.  Some vines from the La Tourette parcel are more than 50 years old. The vineyards consist of hard schist with a thin layer of ground. The harvest takes place during the first half of September with the Grenache picked first. The grapes are macerated for three weeks in stainless steel and the wine is aged for 12-18 months in large used oak barrels.  Approximately 1250 cases per year are produced.

2010 Harvest, note stone walls for water control, Image from Dme. la Tour Vieille

This wine is imported by Kermit Lynch. I bought this bottle during my recent trip to Soul Wine. Normally $22, I purchased it during the 15% off Happy Hour.  This is a very good value at $18.70.   I recommend this wine not only as something good to drink but as an excellent introduction to the red wines of Collioure.

2007 Domaine la Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure
This wine is more modern in style than Domaine du Mas Blanc but it is still rustic.  There are ripe, structured flavors of red and blue fruits.   These savory flavors take on an inky quality with a perfumed finish, and a spicy aftertaste.  This wine will appeal to many is a great value.  After one hour of air it is lovely to drink.  *** Now-2015.

Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure

The 2007 Collioure vintage had an early Spring with an unremarkable crop.  The summer was marked by a June full of rain and humidity followed by a temperate, windy July.   The vineyards had to be sprayed to prevent mildew.  The wind caused the grape skins to thicken along with concentrating the juice, acids, and tannins.  Harvest started at the beginning of September.  The winds caused the crop yields to be 40% less than 2006.

The 2005 Collioure vintage was ultimately dry.  Winter started off with enough rain that the water table was supportive of the vines.  The summer was cooler and not too windy.  The grapes kept their acidity.  The cooler temperatures resulted in a harvest that was one week later.  It started mid-September and finished up before the end of the month.

The Les Junquets cuvee is a blend of 90% Syrah, 5% Marsanne, and 5% Roussanne. The Syrah vineyard is located on a steep terrace that faces west.  The grapes are macerated for 20 days. All of the grapes were vinified together and aged for one year in three-year old barrels.

These wines are imported by Vineyard Brands, distributed by Bacchus Importers Ltd. and select vintages available at MacArthur’s.  They cost $30 per bottle.  These two selections were a step up from the Cosprons Levants.  I recommend both of these wines!  While you can drink the 2007 right now, it needs several hours of air, and undoubtedly will benefit from 2-3 years of aging.  The 2005 is easier to drink right now and I particularly like the meaty, wild nose.  These Mas Blanc wines are probably not for those who like modern styled wines.

2007 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure
This is a bigger wine with ripe fruit and a saline character.  There are waves of flavor, incense mixed with black fruits and some spice.  The flavors are mouthfilling with fine to medium tannins.  There is a pervasive aftertaste.  On the second night the wine puts on good weight with a salty, inky, glycerine aftertaste that coats the mouth.  *** 2015-2022.

2005 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure
The nose started off very meaty then eventually revealed raspberries.  In the mouth there are ample raspberry flavors that are thinner in richness than the 2007.  There is more prickly acidity and an iodine/saline character.  With air the red raspberries mixed with black fruits.  The coating tannins come out through the finish and with the wine softening out in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2019.

2005 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Les Junquets, Collioure
Tasted 26 Feb 2009
A medium+ opaque color of garnet with cherry. A light to medium nose of candied raspberry, white grapefruit freshness, with dark, wild, earthy undertones. With air a tobacco and smokey nose develops. In the mouth a beam of red raspberry fruit wrapped in a blanket of dark fruit. The flavors are delivered with a moderate mouthfeel. There are dark fruits in the aftertaste along with a moderate amount of tannins. This drinks well but certainly will age a number of years.

Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Cosprons Levants, Collioure

The Parce family has been living in Banyuls since the 17th century.  The grandfather Gaston Parce, the village doctor, married Pauline Villarem in 1910.  Her family first acquired vineyards in 1639.  They subsequently build the Mas Blanc winery and Pauline gave birth their son Andre.  Andre took great interest in wine and in promoting the appellations of Banyuls and Collioure.  Dr. Andre Parce passed away in 1998 leaving one of his sons, Jean Michel, to run the domaine.

Domaine du Mas Blanc makes three different red Collioure each of which are named after the various vineyards. According to Rosemary George the 1996 Cosprons Levants cuvee was a blend of  60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 10% Counoise.  The 2007 cuvee it is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache.  The grapes come from the oldest vines on the estate that are planted on clay and schist.  This vineyard is only 900 meters from the sea so the climate is dominated by marine winds.  The Mourvedre is 40 years old.   The grapes are destalked then fermented together for 15 days of maceration.  The wine is then aged for 12 months in old barrels.

These wines are imported by Vineyard Brands, distributed by Bacchus Importers Ltd. and select vintages available at MacArthur’s.  These wines are roughly $22-$23 per bottle.  We preferred the 2005 which is tasty and reasonably priced.  I would personally cellar it two to three more years but if you cannot wait, give it several hours of air before drinking.  If you buy the 2007 then cellar it instead of drinking it.

2007 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Cosprons Levants, Collioure
This wine had a nose of “muddy grass” according to Jenn.  This light to medium bodied wine has a slightly, old-school oxidative flavor, that reveals more herbs and stones than fruit.  It is a bit richer than the 2005 but less complex.  It shows good potential with its red fruits, some dust, and acidity that enlivens the throat.  It shows some bacon and toast flavors with air.  On the second night the fruit unfolded by developing a strong raspberry/Kirsch nose.  It shows less tannins and is softer than Les Junquets.  Note, Robert Parker makes mention of tasting a barrel that was dominated by new wood and that his tasting note is an approximation, as Vineyard Brands only selections old barrels.  Given the strength of the 2007 vintage perhaps this is shutdown.  **(*) 2017-2022.

2005 Domaine du Mas Blanc (Dr. Parce), Cosprons Levants, Collioure
This wine had a nose of red fruit.  In the mouth there were cleaner flavors of red fruit, dusty red berries, and lots of acidity.  With air black fruit and a distinctive set of herbs like black tea developed.  There were sweet spices in the finish and a nice inky coating of the lips.  A really nice bottle that is complete.  *** 2015-2022.

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)