Collioure and Banyuls, plus inland Côtes du Roussillon
By Richard James
This Guide was last updated on 23 April 2010
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Philippe Gard is garnering quite a reputation for his excellent range of Collioure and Banyuls. His - and fellow enlightened growers' - Banyuls winemaking demonstrates why there's a minor renaissance for these delicious Port-like reds. Richer, fruitier, more tannic and less oxidised wines are winning favour with consumers put off by traditional, heavily cask-aged styles. For his commanding 'Quintessence', Philippe minimises oxidation and the fruit shines through; and he made the sweeter 'Galateo' specifically for a Belgian chocolate maker. However, the real stars are arguably his Collioure reds, white and rosé. Grenache is the main grape: Philippe has 11ha of old bush vines, plus recent plantings of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache Gris (for his sought-after barrel-fermented 'Folio' white). His 'Farniente' rosé has fleshy fruit, a touch of tannin and good weight; and 'Schistes' rouge is lusciously pure with firm structure, great balance and spicy length. New wines include a couple more interesting dry white wines (an increasing trend locally), sourced from Mas Christine lying on the hills behind Argeles. In the meantime, his red wines just keep getting better. His cellar is cut into the hillside just before and slightly below the village of Cosprons (signposted off the main road before you reach Banyuls-sur-Mer) – take a left plunging down an earth track and keep going until you see the open cellar door! A peaceful spot indeed, with a fabulous sea view over waves of stoney vineyards in all directions.
Useful information: Visits (preferably in the afternoon) by appointment only: telephone mobile 06 11 84 16 97 or email as above.
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