Wine from Roussillon


          Even though the « Pyrénées Orientales » French department produces 80% of the « Vins Doux Naturels » (sweet wines) in France, this amount only represent 2% of the nation’s wine production, despite the fact that the wines of Roussillon are produced in a terroir specially disposed to grow vines. The wine tradition from the region is passed down from generations since Antiquity. The area is sheltered by the Pyrenean Mountains and benefits from a generous sun exposure. The vines are cultivated in many varieties. The main ones are the Syrah, the black Grenache, the Carignan, the Mourvèdre, the Merlot and the Cabernet-Sauvignon pour the reds and the Grenache blanc, the Malvoisie, the Marsanne, the Macabeu, the Vermentino, the Sauvignon and the Chardonnay pour the whites. In order to produces the sweet whites of Roussillon, the Muscat, the Grenache (black and white), the Macabeu and the Malvoisie are mostly used.

The Côtes du Roussillon, The Roussillon’s classics

          This denomination is classified in many AOC (Appellations d’Origine Controlée = Appellation from Controlled Origin). The Côtes du Roussillon, the Côtes du Roussillon village, the fragmented selection of the Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres and 4 specific production identified under the name of their municipalities it is to say CRV Caramany, Latour de France, Lesquerde and Tautavel. Two other AOC also exists the Collioure AOC and the Maury AOC.

The « Vins Doux Naturels » (sweet wines), Roussillon’s specialty

          The sweet wines from Roussillon (whites, reds, and tuilés) are divided in 5 AOC, Rivesaltes (red, tuilé), Maury (red, tuilé), Banyuls (white, red, tuilé), Banyuls Grand Cru (tuilé) and Muscat de Rivesaltes (white). Arnaud de Villeneuve invented the sweet wines in this region at the end of the 13th century. This famous physician discovered the mutage procedure. During the fermentation stage of the grape the addition of a neutral alcohol stops the action of the yeast and maintains a part of the natural sugars of the fruit. The method of maturation of the wine turns the sweet red wine into a tuilé sweet wine and the sweet white into an ambered one.

The Muscat de Risevaltes

          This wine is probably the most famous sweet wine from the region. Served chilled, its intense fruit and smoothness makes a wonderful aperitif