After a busy Summer 2015, Simon and I decided to take a weeks break down in the South of France and in particular the Roussillon.
This is an area where we have only visited fleetingly and where we both wanted to explore some more, and of course by exploring I mean hunting out some new delicious wines to fill our shelves and share with our customers, as well as gorgeous mountain walks, sea swims and equally gorgeous Mediterranean inspired meals.
Domaine Treloar is based in the heart of the Roussillon, about 30 mins from the sea, an hour from the Pyrenees and about an hour from the Spanish border. This is a small highly regarded Domaine in a really exciting wine making region. For us it is always nice to get behind wines that are not only delicious but also have a story of how they came into being made. Husband and wife team, British born Jonathan Hesford and Kiwi born Rachel Treloar were living and working in New York city when the terrorist attacks happened on September 11th 2001 – they were left without jobs and decided to re-direct their lives and do something that truly motivated them.
Jonathan took a short course at Plumpton College, gaining experience at Halfpenny Green Vineyards in Staffordshire. He then went to New Zealand for 3 years to study viticulture and winemaking as well as getting hands-on experience part time at a small Estate Kaituna Valley. Graduating in 2003 Jonathan was offered Assistant winemaker job at the well known Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson. In 2005 the family decided to make one more move down to the Roussillon – after much searching for the ideal spot to make wine and raise their family they settled in 2006 at an ancient winery that had mature parcels of vines around the village of Trouillas in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
After Jonathan kindly showed us around a selection of his mature vineyards it was clear to us that without even tasting the wines they would be wines that we would enjoy! His philosophy is one of minimal intervention and letting the old vines and his meticulous vineyard practices do the work. He avoids using fertilizers, herbicides and other chemicals and instead works hard at producing healthy grapes with organic fertilizers as well as handpicking and sorting only the best grapes. In the winemaking he uses low levels of sulphur and doesn’t add anything to the wine (such as acid or fining agents). These wines truly reflect the area they come from and are absolutely delicious!
Domaine Treloar, One Block Muscat
One Block is named because Jonathan and Rachel were living one block from the World Trade Centre on 9/11. This wine is a dry, aromatic white made from Muscat Petits Grains. It is a more subtle style of Muscat with elegant aromas of elderflowers and juicy pink grapefruit. A super match to delicate seafood dishes and salads or a very refreshing aperitif.
Domaine Treloar La Terre Promise, Cotes Catalans Blanc
Named after the Bruce Springsteen song ‘Promised Land’. A natural wine made from Macabeu (Viura), Grenache Gris and Carignan Blanc. This wine has a complex nose of river stones, quince and buttered toast. Following onto the palate it has pears, citrus and a long finish.
Domaine Treloar One Block Grenache
Grenache Noir (50%) Lledoner Pelut (30%) and Syrah (20%). Based on Grenache this Cotes du Roussillon is aged in French barriques for 12 months. It is deep and complex with flavours of berry fruit, liquorice, wild herbs and even dark chocolate.
Domaine Treloar Three Peaks
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre with a touch of light oak from ageing in older barriques. This wine clearly shows the terroir of the Aspres at 100-200mts in its refreshing fruit character and medium body. Ready to drink now but will reward even more for up to 6 years from vintage.
Domaine Treloar, Tahi,
This is their icon wine. Tahi is the Maori workd for the number 1. Made from parcels of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre grown on a rare limestone hillside and aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. A selection of the best barrels is also made. Notes of toasty oak and roast coffee beans on the nose – it has a complex palate of dark plum and spice. This is a wine that can be happily cellared for 10 years or more. Match to roast beef or venison.