Portraits Vignerons - L'équilibre entre le soleil & la fraîcheur des vins du Roussillon - Les Grappes

The balance between sunshine & freshness of Roussillon wines

Diary #5 by Elise Gaillard, winemaker at Domaine Madeloc: The Roussillon is known to be a sunny region almost all year round. However, this climate that brings tourists here scares wine lovers. One imagines heavy, powerful wines, too strong in alcohol, good for Parker, but not to open a 2nd bottle! Nevertheless, Roussillon is surprising, complex and fine. Elise Gaillard tells us about the balance between the blazing sun of Roussillon and the freshness of its wines!

The Roussillon: between sunshine and fresh and balanced wines

There are more than 300 days of sunshine per year in Roussillon! That would make a Breton dream, wouldn't it?! One adds to that, of the wind every day which certainly drives out the clouds, but dries the grounds and the cultures. Consumers imagine heavy and powerful wines but are often surprised by the freshness we have in our white wines and the balance of our red wines.

For me, there are several reasons that would explain this freshness and balance in our wines despite the blazing sun we have :

Technical reasons first of all: oenology which has given us the keys to preserve the natural acidity in the wines (often by not doing the second fermentation called " second fermentation ").malolactic " which reduces acidity) and also the viticulture which has allowed us to balance our vines and thus the maturity of our grapes (soil amendment, ploughing etc.).)

But above all natural reasons: first and foremost, the choice of our grape varieties. I am a great lover of Syrah, because of my origins in the Rhône, and I have tried to make them as beautiful as those of the Cote Rôtie. Unfortunately, the grape variety is not the most suitable. Here the king is the Grenache. White, grey or black, it is found everywhere. It is a grape variety of great finesse (it is compared to a Pinot Noir from the south!), with great elegance and a great durability over time. I also like the Carignan (white and black) which brings freshness to the blends.

Secondly, there is a great diversity of soils: schist, gneiss, granite, limestone. Obviously, I have a preference for schists which is the rock of our terroirs on all our estates. It is an exceptional terroir which brings freshness to the wines, because the vines can plunge deep between the interstices of the rock (or schistosity) and draw from the depths of minute water reserves, housed in sheets of clay.In our latitudes, limestone also brings a lot of balance to the wines. Finally, we go from 0 meters of altitude to more than 450 meters of altitude, which makes our wines even more complex.

So, yes, Roussillon is sunny, the wines can contain a lot of alcohol, but the terroir, the grape varieties and the know-how of each winegrower mastering this maturity give balanced, fine and elegant wines. (And yes, I love Roussillon!).

Elise Gaillard (winemaker at Domaine Madeloc)

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