Last but not least,BANYULS' WINES !
Banyuls-sur-Mer Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
Forged by the sea,mountains,sun and winds, Banyuls wine is a fortified sweet wine of 16° of alcohol ( drink mostly as aperitif and with chocolate).Don't be surprised if you see, outside of the winery, oak barrels or glass bottles full of wine in hot summer or in winter,it is a normal process to give to the wine a rancio taste of oxidized fruits like cherries,blackberries and orange peel.
Don't be surprised also if you see in the hand-worked vineyards, mules!!
As all the high-quality French wines,the Banyuls wine is specified by two crucial factors:
-the notion of TERROIR which reflects the place of origin
-the AOC,Appellation d'origine contrôlée system which defines the winemaking practices,the grape varieties.
Over the last decade,the international competition in the wine industry has not much affected the local winegrowers because of the high quality of their wines, contrary to many French ones in particular in Beaujolais,Languedoc and Bordelais...
BANYULS TERROIR:Between mountains and sea,the terraced vines hang on steep slopes and dug their roots into an arid schist soil.The vines are HAND-WORKED as the unique geography prohibits the use of any machines.Thanks to more than 320 days of sun and rare but violent rains,the GRENACHE NOIR grapes reach important levels of sugar concentration with good levels of juice because of the schist.
AOC: Thanks to the French "cartesianism",Banyuls wine,like Collioure wine is produced not only in Banyuls but also in the three other towns of the Côte Vermeille:Collioure,Port-Vendres and Cerbère!
Principal grape-varieties:Grenache Noir,at least 50% for the Banyuls,Grenache Gris,Grenache Blanc,Macabeu,Muscat and Malvoisie sometimes Carignan,Cinsault and Syrah.
The production process,"MUTAGE" or fortification uses neutral wine alcohol,not exceeding 10% of the must volume in order to stop the fermentation and stabilise the wine ,preserving the natural sugar of the grape without modifying the aromas.The earlier the fortification takes place,the greater the natural sweetness of the wine.
Some cuvées are bottled earlier without oxydation and are called RIMAGE or RITMAGE in Catalan.
Then, the MATURATION takes place in oak barrels or outside in barrels or glass bottles exposed to the sun or the cold.
AGEING:a minimum of 10 months for the Banyuls.
BANYULS GRAND CRU: - an Aoc for superior wines, is produced with a minimum of 75% of Grenache Noir,aged at least 30 months in oak barrels,it is the only one French vin doux naturel Grand Cru,it shows aromas of fruits,moka,tobacco,spices,vanilla...
Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru are tasted between 12°C( 53F) and 18°C(65F),it can be preserved 30 years.
Recommended winemakers:-Le Cellier des Templiers,this friendly cooperative of more than 800 members produces two third of all Banyuls.
- Cave Coopérative Banyuls L'Etoile,the oldest cellar of Cru Banyuls,founded in 1921,specialised in traditional"old style" Banyuls
-Domaine du Mas Blanc www.
BANYULS PAIRING: Often drink as aperitif but PLEASE DON'T CONFUSE IT WITH A HEATED WINE like Dubonnet ,it can be tasted with a foie gras(duck liver),or a poultry like duck with figs or cherries,pigeon ,guinea fowl or with lamb,even fish.I used to drink it with cheeses like Gorgonzola,Bleu d'Auvergne or Roquefort!One may also enjoy it with black chocolate and desserts, coffee,a cigar(don't smoke!) or a book!