The wines of the Clos du Rouge Gorge are delicious examples of the indigenous grapes of the Roussillon and some of the finest from the new generation of young winemakers in the region.
Cyril Fhal came to the Roussillon from the Loire Valley in 2002 and found small parcels of north-facing hillside vineyards on gneiss, about 20 miles northwest of Perpignan, where the soil, exposure and altitude of the vines result in a freshness and minerality in the wines. The vines have been farmed biodynamically from the beginning, with light plowing by hand or horse. Natural composts and biodynamic treatments have revitalized the soil, and plants and flowers among the vines bring beneficial insects and a diverse fauna - the mountainside vineyards have a magical quality and seem to blend in with the surrounding sparse vegetation.
Cyril rejected the AOC regulations of the Roussillon, which require 30% Syrah or Mourvedre, not indigenous to the region, believing that due to their excess of maturity and lack of acidity in this climate, result in fat and heavy wines, thus his reds from the local Carignan and Grenache are Vins de Pays Cote Catalanes. according to Cyril, the local Macabeo for the white is the most apt at expressing the mineral character of the soil. Yields at Clos Rouge Gorge are small, harvesting is done by hand, light crushing by foot is followed by slow, traditional fermentations (not carbonic), with no extraction, alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel. Very little sulfur is used in the winemaking.
These are almost Burgundian-style wines of great purity and subtlety that combine delicacy and power. Balanced, finessed, and full of character, they are products of living soils, with pure silky fruit, moderate levels of alcohol and firm acidity.
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