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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Banyuls AOC

Description to Banyuls AOC

The liqueur wine area is located in the wine-growing region of Roussillon at the foot of the Pyrenees directly on the Spanish border. It is the southernmost appellation in France. The grapes not used for liqueur wine production are used to produce the AOC Collioure, whose area is congruent with that of Banyuls. The vineyards on steep slopes on the coast facing the Mediterranean Sea cover around 1,400 hectares of vines on slate soils in the four municipalities of Banyuls-sur-Mer, Cerbère, Collioure and Port-Vendres. This is where one of the most famous sweet, fortified vin doux naturel is produced. Due to the poor soil, there are only very low yields of less than 20 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes reach a high degree of ripeness and often shrivel up on the vine like s ultanas (roughly comparable to a Trockenbeerenauslese). In some cases, the mash is already sprayed (mutage sur grains), which causes an intensive extraction of the colour and aroma substances.

Weinberge im Hinterland von Banyuls-sur-Mer

Through frequent decanting, contact with oxygen or oxidative ageing is forced. However, there are also variants without oxygen contact. There are red, rosé and white varieties. When aged, however, there is hardly any difference between the white and the red. They are all blended from Grenache Noir (Garnacha Tinta) with at least 50%, Grenache Gris (Garn acha Roja), Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca), Macabeo, Malvoisie du Roussillon (Torbato), Muscat Blanc and Muscat d'Alexandrie, and a maximum of 10% Carignan Noir (Mazuelo), Cinsaut and Syrah.

The Banyuls Rancio appellation applies to wines aged for up to two years in oak barrels exposed to sunlight. These often develop an amber colour and have the typical rancio flavour (French: goût du rancio, a pronounced aged tone). The designation Banyuls Grand Cru applies to wines that consist of at least 75% Grenache Noir, are vinified from destemmed grapes and have matured for at least 30 months in oak barrels. There is also a Banyuls Grand Cru Rancio.

When matured appropriately, the extremely long-lived Banyuls resembles a port wine with an intense aroma and taste of coffee, honey, vanilla, nuts, plums and dried fruit with a dry finish. Wines from special vintages are marked on the label with "Rimage". This is derived from the Catalan "rime" (grape) and means vintage. Well-known Banyuls producers are Cellier des Templiers, Chapoutier, Château de Jau, Clos des Paulille, CV l'Étoile, Domaine de la Casa Blanca, Domaine de la Rectorie, Domaine de la Tour Vieille, Domaine du Tragnier, Domaine du Mas Blanc and Domaine Vial-Magnères. Other VDN appellations in Roussillon are Maury, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes.

Image: By Doronenko - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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