This splendid domaine goes from strength to strength, making an impressive array of modern reds and traditional vins doux naturels. Pierre Fontaneil is a painstaking grower who gives more thought to every stage of the grape-growing and wine-making process than most. A recent visit persuaded us to expand our range dramatically.
This stunning dessert wine is the product of 60 year-old Grenache Blanc vines, blended with Grenache Gris and Muscat. The classic rancio nose is no preparation for the sumptuously concentrated palate, which shows a panoply of burnished, nutty flavours, elegantly married with oak. This is an excellent match for desserts incorporating baked fruits and nuts
The aristocratic Muscat à Petits Grains is famously susceptible to rot, so the fact that it thrives in the relatively arid climate of the Roussillon is not surprising. What is really impressive, however, is the “cool climate” freshness and cut that Pierre conjures from his grapes. Much livelier and lighter than the typical Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, for example, this makes an admirable foil to fresh fruit-based desserts. It could also serve as an ingredient in an imaginative cocktail.
Pierre sensibly uprooted his Bordeaux varieties that used to contribute to this wine. It is now made exclusively from 3 –7 year-old vines of true southern varieties, co-fermented to maximise the expression of terroir and given a short maceration. The result is a deep-hued, grapy wine with unexpected depth of briary, juicy fruit and a distinctly more-ish appeal. Exceptional value.