Roc des Anges at Les Caves de Pyrène
Marjorie and Stephane Gallet at Roc des Anges have been making some of the most elegant wines of Roussillon for nearly 20 years now. Elegance really is the hallmark of their wines. Their first vintage was 2001. She comes from the northern Rhône and met Stéphane while studying at Montpellier. After graduation, he went to work at Mas Amiel, so looking for vines in Roussillon was the obvious choice for their own wine estate. Côte Rôtie would have been much more expensive; 'but here in Roussillon everything is possible. And the schist is the same as in Côte Rôtie, but the climate is different'
Since 2014 they have a smart cellar, close to the village of Latour-de-France, with lots of concrete vats of various sizes, to accommodate their numerous different parcels of vines. Altogether they have about 100 plots in just 35 hectares, at an altitude between 150 and 350 metres. 60 ares is a big plot for them. Virtually all their vines are in Montner, with a few in Tautavel and also close to Calce.
Their UK importers are the wonderfully eclectic company, Les Caves de Pyrène, who were very happy to supply a couple of samples for some research. both wines that really convey the tipicity of the estate. I don't usually note alcohol levels, but these are worth mentioning as they are significantly lower than the average in Roussillon.
2018, Côtes Catalanes Blanc, Llum, meaning light in Catalan, is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Carignan Blanc and Macabeo, grown on schist and all picked together. Light colour, with firm stony notes on the nose and palate, with fresh elegance and mineral tension and a long incisive finish. It develops beautifully in the glass. £26.49 12.5°
2018 Côtes Catalanes Rouge, Segna de Cor, is a blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, from relatively young vines, again grown on schist, and aged in tank, is the epitome of elegance, with fresh peppery red fruit, spice and herbs. It is beautifully harmonious, with some balancing acidity as well as tannin, with a fresh vibrant finish. The name is an anagram of Roc des Anges, in case you are wondering. 13.5° £17.99