Superb Banyuls and Collioure from Domaine du Traginer!

11/21/13 - 

(Plowing at Domaine du Traginer)

"Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru are the appellations for France's finest and certainly most complex vin doux naturel" says The Oxford Companion to Wine, and we have enjoyed fine examples from Dr. Parcé, Domaine de la Rectorie, La Tour Vieille, and others. Recent tastings of the Banyuls and Collioures from Jean-Francois Deu at Domaine du Traginer have been a revelation and we are glad to have these magnificent wines on our shelves. M. Deu took over the family estate in 1975, named after his uncle Anicet who was the last mule-driver ("Traginer" in Catalan) in Banyuls. In 1988 he began to work his parcels in organic and biodynamic agriculture, with a large portion of the estate again worked by mule. Currently certified by Ecocert, the estate is also a member of Nicolas Joly's Renaissance des Appellations. No yeasts or enzymes are added, nothing except "très bon raisins" and a small addition of SO2. The Banyuls are aged in hundred-year-old barrels, the Collioures in newer barrels and foudres.

The red Banyuls are made with Grenache, Grenache Gris, and Carignan with the traditional method of "mutage" - the fermentation is stopped by addition of alcohol, followed by a long maceration and aging in barrel. The complex and delicious 2008 Banyuls Grand Cru was aged for 6 years. The Banyuls Ambré, made with Grenache, Grenache Gris and Muscat, spent 15 years in barrel, yielding an astonishingly distinctive, long, and mineral wine. The Banyuls Rimage and Banyuls Blanc are aged briefly in stainless steel, giving superb aromas and forward fruit; they are perfect as aperitifs or with fruit deserts. While we may not share the French way of enjoying a sweet wine as an aperitif or with dessert, the sensational quality of these wines may encourage you to become a bit more French in your habits...

The still wines of Collioure have not enjoyed great popularity in the US as the reds are often over-ripe and monolithic, and the whites are sometimes heavy and undistinguished. The great vineyard work at Traginer, however, produces reds with great complexity of fruit and flavors of earth and minerals balanced by good acidity - real wines of terroir that express the schist soils and sun-baked hills of Collioure. The Traginer white is simply outstanding. Made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Malvasia, the wine shows subtle aromas of stone, white fruits, lime flower, brown spice, and resin, lifted by a slight oxidative character. The palate is dense and very mineral with pear and dried herbs, very long, fresh and stony. The Traginer Rosé is exceptional as well, with dark onion-skin color, aromas of ripe peach, red fruits and spice with terrific depth and length with firm acids.

Jean-François Deu at Domaine du Traginer is doing exemplary work both in the vineyard and in the cellar - these unusual, distinctive and delicious wines deserve your attention. DL


You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered