VTV ‘n me – Le Cirque
Le Cirque is the Vin de Pays brand for the Cooperative I joined, Les Vignerons de Tautavel & Vingrau (VTV). Their introduction last year was a huge success. Red, white and rose all sold very well… before they got scores of 90, 90 and 89 from the Wine Advocate.
‘Le Cirque’ is a vast ampitheater of vines between the two villages. Mostly planted to Grenache and Carignan (with more recent plantings of Syrah and Mourvedre, and Grenache Blanc and Gris for whites), it is a superb terroir whose 1500 acres of vines average well over 30 years of age.
In the big, structured 2010 vintage Le Cirque red was a blend of 50% Carignan with 25/25 Mourvedre and Syrah. The goal was quality equal to entry-level Cabirau but with a different style, focusing on the minerality of Carignan and Mourvedre rather than the red fruit and earthiness of Cabirau’s Grenache. Obviously this succeeded brilliantly and we are down to 1500 cases.
Texture in the 2011 vintage was broader, rather than deep like the 2010s. This makes the red-fruited Grenache an important component at 40%. The stony old vine Carignan at 25%, spicy Syrah at 20% and mineral Mourvedre at 15% round out the blend of a worthy successor to the 2010. Despite the varietal differences in the blend, the terroir of this spectacular vineyard shines through both bottlings, making them more similar than different.
VTV ‘n me – Syrousse
Time for Sunil to take the lead with some blends. It’s been a decade since Roussillon earned its own reputation, separate from Languedoc, in the markets of Northern Europe. It is finally happening here (cf Schildknecht, Teague &c). VTV is there for us, with a Roussillon Appellation red line-priced with Le Cirque.
Roussillon started planting Syrah before most of Languedoc and there is substantial acreage in the Le Cirque vineyard, with average age now about 25 years. Sunil used a black fruit and garrigue-driven lot as the basis of his blend, softened with 20% of a broad, ripe Syrah along with 10% of a juicy yet very mineral Carignan.