About this WINE
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
Grenache (Noir) is widely grown and comes in a variety of styles. Believed to originate in Spain, it was, in the late 20th century, the most widely planted black grape variety in the world. Today it hovers around seventh in the pecking order. It tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can range quite widely in their level of tannin.
In many regions – most famously the Southern Rhône, where it complements Syrah and Mourvèdre, among other grapes – it adds backbone and colour to blends, but some of the most notable Châteauneuf du Pape producers (such as Château Rayas) make 100 percent Grenache wines. The grape is a component in many wines of the Languedoc (where you’ll also find its lighter-coloured forms, Grenache Gris and Blanc) and is responsible for much southern French rosé – taking the lead in most Provence styles.
Found all over Spain as Garnacha Tinta (spelt Garnaxa in Catalonia), the grape variety is increasingly detailed on wine labels there. Along with Tempranillo, it forms the majority of the blend for Rioja’s reds and has been adopted widely in Navarra, where it produces lighter styles of red and rosado (rosé). It can also be found operating under a pseudonym, Cannonau, in Sardinia.
Beyond Europe, Grenache is widely planted in California and Australia, largely thanks to its ability to operate in high temperatures and without much water. Particularly in the Barossa Valley, there are some extraordinary dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of startling intensity.