I tasted this six months ago, and it's a wine that defines Roussillon. Its wildness; its utter defiance; its dance of honey and herbs, bronze and petrichor, metal and rocks; its head-tossing beauty. This is a wine that tastes of dawn spilling silent light over mountains. It's a wine that tastes of cold wind blowing through wild fennel and over scree in those dark-blue moments just after the sun has set. It's a wine that tastes of time lost. You cannot taste this wine unless you approach it with your whole, open heart.
Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com (Mar 2021)
2016 was Wendy Paillé’s first vintage at Le Soula. Light colour. Nuances on the nose from the diversity of grape varieties (49% Sauvignon Blanc, 23% Vermentino, 14% Grenache Blanc, 12% Macabeo with 2% of others). Rounded and textured, with good balancing acidity. Notes of fennel and an appealing sapidity. Elegant with a fresh finish.
Drink 2020 - 2024
Rosemary George MW, Decanter.com (Aug 2020)
Some honey and nut on the nose with yellow plum and pear. Lovely fine spiciness and notes of grapefruit and mandarin. Linear and bright with keen lemony fruit, this has a sense of precision with bright acidity on the finish. So lovely.
Lisse Garnett, Wine Anorak (Jan 2022)
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
VDP des Cotes Catalanes
As its name suggests VDP des Côtes Catalanes is one of the most Westerly of the zonal Vin De Pays within the Vin De Pays D'Oc region. Located within the Pyrénees Orientales, this is one of the few designations that has forged a reputation in its own right. The wines tend to be dominated by Grenache and to be rich and ruddy of complexion.
An important white grape in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley that has now found fame in New Zealand and now Chile. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux and is blended with Sémillon to produce fresh, dry, crisp Bordeaux Blancs, as well as more prestigious Cru Classé White Graves.
It is also blended with Sémillon, though in lower proportions, to produce the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It performs well in the Loire Valley and particularly on the well-drained chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where it produces bone dry, highly aromatic, racy wines, with grassy and sometimes smoky, gunflint-like nuances.
In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today many producers are rivalling Cloudy Bay in terms of quality and Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand`s trademark grape.
It is now grown very successfully in Chile producing wines that are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character. After several false starts, many South African producers are now producing very good quality, rounded fruit-driven Sauvignon Blancs.