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Banyuls is just down the road from Collioure and, whereas one is more famous for red and one for white, they both share the same extraordinary beauty, with a luminous Mediterranean backdrop framing natural bays with steep sea-facing vineyards and balmy breezes. Domaine de la Rectorie, run by the Parce family for over a century, has had the good sense to make wine in both appellations. Collioure has gained plaudits over the last few decades for the quality of its white wines, but one should not forget that red grapes are still more planted here and that not too long ago they would all have gone into Banyuls. Their Montage cuvée is planted, as the name suggests, on the highest vineyards and is picked relatively late; it is a fascinating blend of equal proportions of Carignan, Grenache, Counoise and Mouvèdre. The Counoise is especially interesting, celebrated by, amongst others, the Perrins at Château de Beaucastel, and adds aromas of violet and even jasmine to the ensemble. Cuvée Leon Parce is a classic fortified Banyuls, the Grenache having been allowed to macerate for three weeks in the neutral alcohol (96 % abv), which is added fairly quickly to arrest the initial fermentation. This extended maceration, allied to the innate thickness of the Grenache skins, ensures a purity of structure and avoids any danger of confection. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
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Bottle 6 x 75cl
Bottle 6 x 75cl