Purple Palate Blog

Day 24 – Port Vendres to Barcelona (again)

So, up at out to meet up with the owner of Caves de Roussillon. I am so ashamed to say his name has slipped away from me, because he was by far the most passionate advocate for a regions wines I have met so far this trip.

His shop was the closest in philosophy to Purple Palate that I have encountered. His laser focus is on the beautiful wines of the Languedoc Roussillon region, with particular focus on the costal region around Port Vendres and Collioure. Around 80% of the wines he holds are from local producers, many independent and boutique.

I worked through a tasting of 8 wines from the region and had to stop him opening more.

We tried 2 hugely different expressions of white, a Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris blend that was fruit forward and easy drinking but still a good example of the region. The other was a crisp dry white, of Picpoul based wine but experimental (getting an IGP classification), while lemony, light and crisp, showed some vanilla, and toast, giving some textual body, very nice.

We then looked at 2 Grenache based wines, Grenache is king in South of France, and while fruit forward, with some sweetness from alcohol, really requires some backbone of acidity and tannin to get a fuller richer wine.

Carignan and Syrah fulfils these roles admirably, and are much in evidence in the better wines.

We then went to the Vin du Naturales.

A Banyuls Blanc, with peach, apricots and honey, with a spiky acid finish, left me craving lemon tart.

Then Banyuls Grenache based vertical, showing how VDNs character develops over 20 years. From bright red fruits, with high sweetness and youthful acidity, turning more and more into dark cherries and the alcohol developing and oxidative notes becoming more prevalent.

In all seriousness the experience was educational, and engaging (all the while he served about a dozen customers, including another wine tasting).

If you are down that way drop in, you won’t be disappointed.

So after a long walk and a strong coffee, back in the car to head back to Barcelona. Roz asked if I minded taking the scenic route to Cadaqués. “No problems” I said, “Are you sure… it’s a bit winding” Roz says. Yeah… A bit winding. Bloody master of understatement my darling wife.

So, two hours to travel 79 kilometers later, we get to Cadaqués. Gorgeous spot. It would want to be.

It did however give me a chance to wonder at the mental stability of wine produces in the region. Some of the vineyards we passed were truly terrifying in their steepness and lack of access. Like “miss a step and you drown in the Mediterranean” type steep.

Lunch in Cadaqués then onto Barcelona before flying out to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Decided to have dinner at the hotel after another huge day in the car (11400 km in 21 days).

Life lesson…Don’t eat at airport hotels if you have any other option.

Night, see you in Scotland.

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