Don’t you just love it when you come across a wine that not only exceeds expectations, but positively confounds them.
Just as I was prepping my palate for a full body massage, and more fat than lean, it rocks up linear, with vibrant, yet delicate, fruit, tons of creamy complexity, an intense, and totally unexpected minerality, cut through with a rapier-like grapefruit acidity.. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of pep and brio, with more than a whiff of the Southern Rhone, but hardly the norm for a white made in the brutal summer heat of the Roussillon.
Le Roc des Anges – I’ll let you work that one out – sits in the village of Montner in the Agly valley, Pyrénées-Orientales, on the northern, exposed, side – and this is the key – of Força Réal mountain. This is tough country, dry and windy with notoriously poor soil, composed of old rotten schists – we all know a few of those!
All vineyard practices are traditional – other than some leaf thinning and essential pruning the ethos is strictly non-interventionist. Majorie (Gallet) describes the wine as a work in progress – but I think she’s being modest.
Simplicity and authenticity are her watchwords. A traditional press is used, vinification is in concrete – with the shape of the tanks, and the level of the fill, determining the gentle extraction – with maturation in concrete – which enhances the aromatic purity and freshness of the wine – and wood (for about 10% of the elevage) in the form of one-to-three year old barrels.
‘Llum’ (meaning light in Catalan) is a blend of Grenache Gris 90% and Maccabeu 10% from 70 to 100 year old vines and is slow to release the full extent of its beauty, only doing so as it warms and broadens in the glass.
Far and away my white wine of the summer – Llum’s Yum!