This fairly small appellation of 330 hectares is spread across four communes: Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls-sur-Mer, and Cerbere. Collioure is produced as rose, red, and white French wine, and is made with Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. The red wines are very harmonious, full, warm, and fleshy, with aromas of ripe fruits, minerals, and exotic notes such as pepper, vanilla, and oriental spices.
There are also special cuvées, produced from ancient vineyards of which the ground is rocky, including igneous types. These Cuvées Vignes Rocheuses are highly concentrated. Red Collioure can be drunk in two manners: young and cool (12°C/53.6°F) , or mature and at cellar temperature (16°C/ 60.8°F) . Collioure red is one of France's top French wines.
The rather rarer rose is fresh, full-bodied , and extremely rich. Drink this French wine for a best taste at approx. 12°C (53.8°F).
The vineyards of this vin doux naturel are situated along the coast on terraces of shale. The vines grown on the 1,460 hectares of this appellation are mainly Grenache Noir, with some Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre. The rich, warm, and powerful character of Banyuls comes from 50 to 75 per cent Grenache Noir. The soil here is extremely poor and rocky with a thin layer of earth that is washed away by each heavy thunderstorm. The work here is hard and much has to be done manually. The grapes ripen ideally in the strong sun so that they are extremely high in sugar when harvested.
The addition of alcohol to the must or mutage often occurs very early in the process, even before the grapes have been pressed. In common with Maury, the oxidation of the wine is the secret of Banyuls. The oxidation is encouraged by only partially filling the barrels or by leaving the French wine in the sun in large wicker-covered bottles to partially evaporate.
Countless different cuvees are blended by the winemaker according to the type of French wine desired. Some Banyuls (rimages) are not exposed to oxidation. Instead they are vinified to retain their fruity aromas. Depending on the type, Banyuls can be very fruity (red fruit, cherry), or possess aromas of roasted cocoa or coffee, and preserved and dried fruit (raisins, almond, other nuts, prune, fig) . Young fruity Banyuls (rimages) are drunk as an aperitif at approx. 12°C for a good French wine taste . Mature to very mature hors d'age is better drunk slightly warmer at between 14- 18°C (57.2- 64.4°F).
BANYULS GRAND CRU
These superb jewels are only made in the years of the best vintages. They encompass and sublimate all the wonderful characteristics of Banyuls. A sip of this rich, intense wine is to sample paradise.