Preview: The #Winophiles Talk White Wines of Roussillon

Roussillon Banyuls

Mediterranean coast view of Roussillon from atop Banuyls Cru vineyards. Photo courtesy of CIVR.

The third Saturday monthly a group of wine writers and bloggers come together discussing an aspect of French wine. Our July theme is crisp and bright, mineral dusted and sea breeze blown. It can be deeply complex and sweet or dry. These are just some descriptors of the white wines of Roussillon.

If you’re wondering where Roussillon lies and why is it commonly referred to as Languedoc-Roussillon you most likely have company.

1972 was the year the once two separate regions were administratively joined as one. Within this one region, Languedoc produces about 90% of the wine and Roussillon 10%. When you combine all of the vineyards from both it equals the largest vineyard area in France. I encourage you to keep them separate because they really are two different worlds with two different oversight bodies. You can read more about that in a previous article here.

And here is a tidbit that might put a smile on your face- Roussillon has the most organic and biodynamic acreage in France.

Roussillon terroir

Steep terraced vineyards are a frequent site in Roussillon.

High-Level Geological Breakdown of Roussillon

Perpignan is the main city in Roussillon, just 40 km (25 miles) from the Spanish border.

Three rivers traverse the region horizontally, each traveling roughly west to east and dump into the Mediterranean: the Agly, the Têt and the Tech. They define three distinctively different valleys.

Agly Valley – Rugged hills of black schist

The black schiste of Maury is abundant and impressive. Photo source CIVR.

This is the northern most river valley in Roussillon. The vineyards of Maury AOC are upstream along the valley. The valley floor consists of shallow black schist and marl which forces vine roots to dig deep. This is home to the vins doux naturels  (VDN) Maury Blanc, a sweet, fortified wine. Maury Rouge is made too, as well as a dry red under Maury AOC.

The Têt Valley – A complex terroir

Roussillon clay pebbles argilo soils

Old vines on clay and pebbly soils. Photo source: CIVR ©YASUKOFUJISAWA

Home to mostly red wines with an extensive alluvium-based basin of mixed soils: sedimentary stones and pebbles with yellow and red clay, and silt and sand.

The Tech Valley – All about stones and sand

Young vines in the sandy stony soils near Rivesaltes.

Yep, stony and sandy soils are the majority here! This river valley is south of the other two and home of the southern part of the Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes AOCs. The Collioure and Banuyls AOCs lie just south.

White wines, both dry and sweet, are found within these areas of Roussillon along with the following grapes:

  • Grenache Blanc
  • Grenache Gris
  • Macabeu or Maccabéo
  • Malvoisie du Roussillon (Tourbat)
  • Muscat à petits-grains
  • Muscat d’Alexandrie:
  • Marsanne
  • Roussanne
  • Vermentino or Rolle
  • Viognier
  • Chardonnay, and a few other less-known varieties

Look for these articles on Friday and Saturday from the #Winophiles

Our group articles go live starting this Friday. We then join up on Twitter for a chat Saturday, July 18th. You can follow us using the hashtag #Winophiles. But if you have a comment we would love to hear from you, don’t be shy! The chat starts at 8am PDT (17:00 in France).

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tells us about “A Summer Pairing: Salade Niçoise + Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2017“.

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm pairs “American Bay Scallops with French Roussillon Blanc”.

Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “A Perfect Al Fresco Lunch in Roussillon: Domaine d’Aussières Chardonnay 2018 and Creamy Crab Quiche”.

Jeff from foodwineclick presents “Banyuls Pet-Nat with Treats à La Buvette”.

Allison and Chris from ADVineTURES discuss “Domaine Lafage Cuvée Centenaire: The Essence of Rousillon”.

Melanie at Wining With Mel tells us about her “Adventures in Roussillon white wines” #Winophiles.

Linda from My Full Wine Glass explains “A Dry Roussillon blanc turns my thoughts toward chicken”.

Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “M. Chapoutier’s Cotes du Roussillon Blanc Paired with Halibut Baked in Lemon Butter #Winophiles “.

Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles talks about “Snow capped Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Sea – exploring the stunning and diverse Roussillon wine region”.

Cathie from Side Hustle Wino shares “Why You Will Love the White Wines of Roussillon“.

Lauren at The Swirling Dervish blog tells us about “Biodynamics and the Butterfly Effect: A Labor of Love in Roussillon”.

Susannah from Avvinare shares “Muscat de Rivesaltes – A Marvel from Roussillon”.

Payal at Keep the Peas whips up “Northern Thai Food and a Roussillon Muscat”.

Katrina from Corkscrew Concierge “An Exploration of Roussillon White Wines”.

Terri from Our Good Life tells us about “Summer Love and White Wines from Roussillon”.

Nicole at Somm’s Table has Fun with Ramen & Saint-Roch Cotes du Roussillon Vieilles Vignes Blanc”.

And here on Savor the Harvest I share “Distinctive Roussillon White Wines for your Buy List”.

2 thoughts on “Preview: The #Winophiles Talk White Wines of Roussillon

    1. Lynn Post author

      We’re glad to have you join and help shine a light on this region’s fabulous wines!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.