White, Drink now

1999 Vin de Liqueur, Cuvée Elisabeth, Domaine de la Rectorie

1999 Vin de Liqueur, Cuvée Elisabeth, Domaine de la Rectorie

White | Drink now | Domaine de la Rectorie | Code:  15642 | 1999 | France > Languedoc-Roussillon > Collioure | Chardonnay | Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Sweet | 14.7 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine de la Rectorie

Domaine de la Rectorie

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

The Grape

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.

Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.

It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.

Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.

The Region

Collioure

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