The Banyuls Cuvée Léon Parcé by La Rectorie, one of the most respected producer of this coastal area of Roussillon in Southern France, is a sweet dessert wine, or Vin Doux Naturel as we the French call it.
It is made in the Rimage style, meaning that it is made like standard red wine, protected from oxidation unlike the standard oxidative style, traditional way for making Banyuls wine. Because Rimages are not oxidatised, they display the natural primary fruity flavors from the grapes, like ripe red berries unlike the more nutty and spicy notes of the oxidative styles.
It is a blend of 90% Grenache with 10% Carignan, from a selection of some of the best vineyards on La Rectorie’s estate.
Fermentation lasts for about 4 days, before pure alcohol is added to stop it and keep some sugars unfermented to provide the sweetness. Alcohol is added sur grains (while the skins are still in the tank unlike other styles where the alcohol is added after pressing) before a long maceration on the skins for about 3 weeks. Follows a 1 year maturation in used (no new) oak wine barrels.
So How Does this Banyuls Rimage Taste Like?
This Vin Doux Naturel (fortified wine) from the Southern-most region in France, Roussillon, comes in a dark but bright and intense rec color. It’s black to the core, with purple hues to the rim making it look like a super-dense and concentrated grape juice.
The nose is also very intense, and intensely fruity. Deep cherry liqueur aromas, with prune and sweet spices. Again, like a dark and super ripe red grape juice it smells like.
The palate is sweet, but doesn’t feel that much so, balanced by a great fresh acidity. This makes the red berry and dark cherry flavors shine with intensity and freshness.
Full-bodied but it doesn’t feel heavy.
Granulous tannins populate the finish and confirm we are here with an extraordinarily concentrated wine, that tastes very fresh and fruity, with touches of enjoyable spiciness.
More importantly, it truly tastes like the grapes it comes from. From quite a dry region by the Mediterranean Sea. Vines struggling to extract water from the soil. People working hard to produce grapes from old vines.
This Banyuls tastes everything of the terroir it comes from. Rich and luscious, yet with a unique minerality and savoriness in its fruity expression.