Joy of Terroir 2011
December - Clos des Fees, Roussillon
Former sommelier, wine merchant and wine writer Hervé Bizeuil established this estate over seven hectares (now 18ha) in 1999, converting his garage into a winery for the first vintage. The vines span a number of terroirs across Roussillon in southern France, 15km apart, at varying exposures. While the region boasts a range of soils, Bizeuil sought out clay-limestone sites for the ‘rich and powerful’ wines he desires. The Agly Valley in Roussillon’s north boasts spectacular steep-sided hills, stony garrigue and bush-trained vines. In its upper reaches lies the prehistoric village of Tautavel and the bowl-like Cirque de Vingrau, home to the vines that make up his renowned Clos des Fées – a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan from minimal yields of just 12hl/ha. The vines seen here are 50-year-old massal-selection Grenache, while the mountains are the Traou de Cabali (Trou de Cheval), through which smugglers on horseback crossed the border between France and Spain in the 16th century.