2019 Domaine de la Tour Vieille Banyuls “Rimage” 500ml
The oxidative, fortified winemaking tradition of the northwestern Mediterranean is quickly becoming a lost art. These wines were for seafaring men, as the wine doesn’t spoil under even the most extreme conditions.The tradition is alive and well at La Tour Vieille, in the ancient port town of Collioure near the Spanish border. Vincent Cantié produces this Banyuls, named after another nearby port, from ripe Grenache whose fermentation is arrested by distilled spirits.
Heads up – the resulting wine is sweet and fruity with about 16% alcohol! It’s best consumed as a digestif, with chocolate desserts, or in the midst of a mighty gale many miles offshore…
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In 1981, Vincent Cantié and Christine Campadieu took over two small, family-owned domaines where they’d grown up, in Collioure and Banyuls. Together, they farm vineyards planted on steep, schist terraces overlooking the sea, exposed to the fierce and wily wind known as “La Tramontagne.” The vineyards are so steep that cultivation must be by hand, and extensive irrigation canals are the only prevention against soil erosion.
At harvest, grapes are carried up and down the mountain in baskets. This method of farming, while extremely challenging, preserves the traditions of their ancestors. The heart, soul, and hard work that go into crafting these wines make their labor of love all the more delicious.