Côtes du Roussillon – Wines of Distinction, Easily Accessible – James Melendez

Wines of Côtes du Roussillon is about wines for a focused tasting and a clear journey.  Côtes du Roussillon is not thought of as appellation but rather as the name sake of the gigantic region often and only mentioned as Languedoc-Roussillon.  But let’s not count on Wikipedia to give the full picture of what the wines of Côtes du Roussillon are – instead think of this wine region as wines that are fully accessible both in terms of price and also immediate impressions.  I offer another example in terms of wine country comparisons as it relates to naming: what if Napa and Sonoma would only be mentioned as one name: Napa-Sonoma. They are two distinct regions—though close to each other are identically different.  The same can be said for Côtes du Roussillon and Languedoc.

Cote du Roussillion

Languedoc is known for a power region of vast quantities of wine being produced; while Roussillon can be a hand sell of each wine. But drill down to understand the region and to understand it’s place and relationship of grape varieties. This region is about about Rhone varieties as well as Iberian varieties. (Macabeu, Garnacha, Carignano. It is no surprise there is Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan. Carignan is a historical variety much bruised but an integral part of the region. Carginan has received notes from Jancis Robinson who in the past has called out as bitter. And yet other wine reviewers/writers say Carignan is not identifiable—that is there are no distinguishing characteristics. To be fair the same has been said of Syrah. Syrah has been noted as a grape with no distinguishing characteristics such as Bordeaux or Burgundy varieties. Not every grape can be Pinot Noir. Syrah does vary on region (I don’t like to use the word Terroir over used in my opinion and misapplied) Syrah is a grape with body, texture, weight, a freshness that other grapes can’t quite capture, elegance, and not always about power. Syrah is both something that stands completely on it’s own and can also bring kindred varieties together and plays both a supporting cast partner as well as lead partner. I was a part of the an online tasting sponsored by Wines of Roussillon.

Michel Chapoutier Bila Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2014


Michel Chapoutier is producing a memorable wine that is well balanced with varieties that are comfortably part of the Côtes du Roussillon.  Macabeu is part of this regions wine scene and is known as Macabeo in neighbouring Catalan.

This wine is 13% ABV and composed of the following varieties: Grenache Blanc,  Grenache Gris and Macabeu.  Scent characteristics of Meyer lemon zest, Adriatic fig, tea and crushed sea shells. Nicely dry and giving key flavour notes of Meyer lemon, Heirloom apple, hint of Papaya, sesame and white floral tones Chateau

This wine I am going to serve with appetizers and first plates such as a cheese board, first dishes like a seafood crudo and can be appreciable served and enjoyed on it’s own with no food.

Chateau Planeres La Romanie 2014



Superbly fresh in every sense experience with this wine. Scent characterization of cedar forest, juniper, red clay earth and black cherry. Flavour notes of raspberry, blackberry, dark cherry tamarind white pepper and cinnamon. This wine has a suggested retail price of 16 USD per bottle. This wine contains the following varieties: 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% Black Grenache.

I appreciated this wine for it’s quality and artistry that went into making this wine.  A hauntingly lyrical and memorable wine.   I will serve this wine with Rib-eye, Barbecued meats, and roast chicken.  Try this wine first and enjoy alone with no food.  A completely gorgeous wine.

Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2011



This wine comes from the village of Tautavel; the wine grapes are hand picked and de-stemmed and after fermentation spends 10 months in barrel.

This wine is 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Carignan and registers at 15% ABV Scent characteristics of cedar, underbrush, raspberry black cherry, moist earth, and savory spice. Flavour characteristics of blackberry, dark cherry, hint of coco powder, pepper and red tea.

A very nicely sculpted wine and leaves the palate with a long and appreciable finish.

Domaine Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes 2011 



This wine is15.5% ABV and includes the following varieties: 50% Muscat of Alexandria and 50% Muscat à petits grains.  Scent characteristics: lemon peel, truffle, white flowers, tea, and beeswax. And flavour characteristics: mineral, hint of savory notes, honeycomb and beeswax. This is a splendid wine to enjoy with a cheese plate. If you think of the alcohol is too high this is certainly in line with other wines you might start of evening’s meal—Sherries are certainly in this range.  A superbly well made wine.  I love this wine with appetizer plates such crab cakes, and oysters.  A gentle hint of sweetness that makes the food wine experience that more tantalizing–don’t worry this over all is not a full throttle sweet wine.

Domaine La Tour Vieille Banyuls 2014


I love Banuyls – this wine is a composition of Grenache and Carignan.  A delightful style and something that should be thought of as a wine to close out the evening but it should also be thought of as an appertif wine. Scent characteristics: Mineral orientation; coco powder and Tayberry, blackberry coulis Tamarind.   Flavour characteristics of Tayberry, fresh blackberry, acai, cinnamon, clove and cardamom.  The hint of sweetness is mild and compelling and for me I view as thrilling.  I love sweet wines and think they deserve a greater space and place at the tasting table.

Domaine Cabirau Serge and Nicolas Maury Sec 2013


This is a very small site and producer; this wine is a composition of 60% Grenache, 28% Syrah and 12% Carignan.  The grapes are hand harvested and Grenache comes from 60 year old vines.  The scent notes of this wine include: wet stones, toffee, chocolate, blackberry and savory spices.  The flavour characteristics are giving notes of black pepper black cherry, blackberry cinnamon, espresso chocolate.  I would serve a variety of beef dishes either spiced or grilled.

Taking a tasting tour of Wines of Côtes du Roussillon is easily within reach; outstanding quality, easy on the pocket book and full of richness to start and end your evening with these wines. If you have not tasted Côtes du Roussillon  ask your wine merchant for these wines to begin your tasting tour. I believe we are going to see many more wines from this region gracing our table—a journey of region and one easily and enjoyably done.  Start your journey to tasting wines from this fantastic region.



Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of Côtes du Roussillon.

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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine reviews:jamesthewineguy.wordpress.com © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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