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June 2020 – Côté Est, Authentique, and La Rétro

2019 Côté Est, Pays d’Oc

A blend of 50% Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, with 30% Chardonnay and 20% Roussanne.   The Grenache are 60 years old and the vines are planted east /west, which helps maintain a cooler temperature and some freshness.  Each grape variety is fermented separately, and given some ageing on the fine lees.  The aim is easy drinking, as it partners Côté Rose and the red Côté Sud, as the entry level to the range, but even at that level it demonstrates the success of Roussillon for producing white wine.  The colour is light and the nose is fresh and pity, with the same pithiness on the palate, and some stony fruit.  It is nicely rounded, with what the French call un joli amer on the finish – a nice bitterness.   There are moments in French wine tasting when bitterness can be a quality, which of course it never is in English.   Appealing and refreshing.


2018 Authentique, Côtes du Roussillon

A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan from different terroirs, and the aim is a wine that is truly representative of Roussillon.   Most of the wine is aged in vat, but about 20% spends twelve months in French oak.   Deep colour. Ripe black fruit on the nose, and on the palate a hint of vanilla and a streak of tannin, with ripe rounded fleshy fruit.  14.5° but it carries its alcohol well and does not taste alcoholic or heavy; on the contrary.   Quite simply, it is a jolly nice glass of wine that is authentically Roussillon.


2019 Le Rétro, Vin de France

Carignan, Lledoner Pelut, Grenache Noir and Grenache Gris.  There is a story on the website about a wine made from the grapes picked at the end of the harvest in early October.  They were not suitable for vin doux, and instead served to make a refreshing everyday wine.  Bright light red in colour, with perfumed fresh fruit.  A touch of acidity and tannin with good fruit and a fresh finish.  Quite light in the mouth and indeed a modest 12.5°.  Served slightly chilled, it could be termed Roussillon’s answer to Beaujolais, and I say that, liking Beaujolais.