About this WINE
Le Soula produces wines of remarkable quality at high altitude in the Fenouillèdes region of the Roussillon, in the foothills of the Pyrénées, up above the Agly valley.
Le Soula’s wines combine freshness and vitality, a characteristic which stems from the soil and the climate. The soil is granitic and poor. The climate is hard and extreme, combining the heat of the Southern sun with the cold and rain of the mountains at a height of between 350 and 600 metres, and the effects of the Tramontane wind.
There are 53 hectares of which 23 are planted with vines in small widely spread parcels with different expositions to the sun.
Gérard Gauby, the Roussillon's most highly respected vigneron, had become aware of the potential of vineyards at higher altitude to produce wines with real finesse. In 2001 he formed a partnership with his English wine importers, Roy Richards and Mark Walford, to create a new estate. In 2008, they were joined by Gérald Standley who now runs the vineyard and has become a partner in the enterprise.
Since the outset, the vineyards have been managed organically and they are now worked biodynamically. Being completely organic the vineyards are a haven for flora and fauna. Wild boar emerge from the forests to turn over the soils in search of grubs and herbs, which are to be found in abundance.
The vineyard is principally composed of very old vines with some planted more recently. The red grape varieties are Carignan, Syrah and Grenache noir . The white wines are blended from a cocktail of Macabeu, Sauvignon blanc, Grenache blanc and gris, Vermentino, Marsanne, Roussanne, Malvoisie du Roussillon and Chardonnay. Le Soula is to be found in a great many of the world's leading restaurants in many different countries
Despite their own complacency, occasional arrogance and impressive challenges from all-comers, France is still far and away the finest wine-producing nation in the world and its famous regions – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire, Rhône, Alsace and increasingly Languedoc Roussillon – read like a who’s who of all you could want from a wine. Full-bodied, light-bodied, still or fizzy, dry or sweet, simple or intellectual, weird and wonderful, for drinking now or for laying down, France’s infinitesimal variety of wines is one of its great attributes. And that’s without even mentioning Cognac and Armagnac.
France’s grape varieties are grown, and its wines emulated, throughout the world. It also brandishes with relish its trump card, the untranslatable terroir that shapes a wine’s character beyond the range of human knowledge and intervention. It is this terroir - a combination of soil and microclimate - that makes Vosne-Romanée taste different to Nuits-St Georges, Ch. Langoa Barton different to Ch. Léoville Barton.
France is a nation with over 2,000 years of winemaking, where the finest grapes and parcels of land have been selected through centuries of trial and error rather than market research. Its subtleties are never-ending and endlessly fascinating. Vintage variation is as great here as anywhere – rain, hail, frost and, occasionally, burning heat can ruin a vintage. Yet all this creates interest, giving the wines personality, and generating great excitement when everything does come together.
However, this is not to say that French wine is perfect. Its overall quality remains inconsistent and its intricate system of classification and Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) based on geography as opposed to quality is clearly flawed, sometimes serving as a hindrance to experimentation and improvement.
Nevertheless, the future is bright for France: quality is better than ever before – driven by a young, well-travelled and ambitious generation of winemakers – while each year reveals new and exciting wines from this grand old dame.
Viura is a synonym for Macabeo and is the most widely planted white grape variety in Rioja. It is a fairly straightforward grape to cultivate, although it is susceptible to disease and in particular to downy mildew and grey rot. It is a generous-yielding grape and in Rioja it tends to be blended with approximately 5% Malvasia to produce classic white Riojas. In Rioja Alvesa it is often blended with Tempranillo to produce high quality Red Riojas.
In the wrong hands, Viura can produce rather neutral tasting wines. However skilled winemakers manage to preserve the grape`s natural aromatic freshness and produce wines that are enhanced by oak maturation rather than overwhelmed. Marqués de Cáceres and Herencia Remondo are widely recognised as two of the finest exponents of Viura in Rioja.