A blend of the 2006 and 2007 vintages, the Domaine de Saü Rancio sec is 100% Grenache gris, harvested by hand from a 1.9-hectare plot of 70-year old bush vines. Fermented with native yeasts in epoxy-line steel tanks and left for a week on its skins, its subsequent elevage takes place in one of the most magical places for oxidative wines in all of Roussillon—a former horse barn on the Château de Saü estate. Here, temperatures range from 55–80F and the Tramontana wind blows outside its wooden doors throughout the year, concentrating the wine left to rest in old 225-liter Bordelais fûts.
Never topped-up, the resulting wine reaches 18.5% abv naturally, without fortification; the honeyed texture and high-floral notes of the wine belying its inherent power. Exceptional as a dry digestif, with cheese and dried fruit, and with glazed pork. Shelf-stable, it should be served lightly chilled or at cellar temperature.
About Domaine de Saü/Château de Saü
Established in 1846 in the heart of the Têt Valley, just outside Thuir, Chateau de Saü has always owned vineyards but didn’t begin bottling its wine until fourth-generation owner Hervé Passama and his wife Béatrice returned to the estate in 1986. Producing a full range of wines under both the Chateau de Saü and Domaine de Saü rubrics—the Passamas completed conversion to organic viticulture in 2006—the estate is most prized for its spicy, alluring Rivesaltes ambré and, more recently, for its Rancio sec, produced during the last years of Hervé’s life. Grapes for both the Rivesaltes and Rancio sec are Grenache gris, harvested by hand from a small 1.9-hectare vineyard of 70-year old goblet vines. Following fermentation and a week-long maceration, elevage is undertaken in a former horse stable situated behind the chateau, a truly special place for the rearing of oxidative wines. The wines are kept in used 225-liter Bordelais fûts, stacked twos and threes, and year-by-year they concentrate and develop the rich texture and notable rancio character that is a hallmark of their elevage. With Hervé’s passing in 2014, Béatrice has retired and the vines have been rented, leaving these wines the last testament of one of the great terroirs for aged, oxidative wines.
About Côtes Catalanes IGPOne of the most dynamic IGPs in the greater Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, the Côtes Catalanes IGP encompasses nearly all of the Pyrénées-Orientales administrative départment and most of its appellations: Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon-Villages; Grand Roussillon; Maury and Maury sec; Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes. (The diminutive Banyuls and Collioure AOPs are covered by Côte Vermeille IGP.) The climate is Mediterranean, but the terroir itself is quite varied: dark schist, granite, gneiss and clay-limestone soils along its northern slopes; dry, garrigue-scented clay, sand and gravel on the plains around Perpignan. Temperatures, some of France’s most extreme, are moderated by maritime influence and the proximity of the snow-capped Pyrénées. The best hillside slopes cool considerably at night, retaining acidity and freshness in the grapes. Under the Côtes Catalanes IGP, independent vignerons and cooperatives produce mono-varietal expressions (e.g., Domaine Jorel Carignan ‘Male Care’) not currently endorsed under existing AOPs, as well as wines from international varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon) that have increasingly found favor amongst some growers and cooperatives. Ironically, the region’s most traditional wine, Rancio Sec - unfortified and fully-oxidized - is also its rarest and falls under the auspices of the Côtes Catalanes (and Côte Vermeille) IGP.
|Oxidative/Oxidized Wine; Dry