Your Wine IQ

Collioure


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Languedoc-Roussillon Right Collioure


Designated by the same exact geographical boundaries as the more famous Banyuls AOC, Collioure encompasses the unfortified wines that are found in these areas. The communes of Banyuls-sur-Mer (16.35 square miles), Cerbère (3.16 square miles), Port-Vendres (5.7 square miles), and the titular Collioure (5.03 square miles) add up to 30.24 square miles. Millions of bottles of wines are produced each year, in many different types of unfortified styles.

Collioure itself is an amazing scenic fishing port, with beautiful palms at the shore of the incoming sea and grandiose old castles up on the hills. The identical terroir and similar grapes give the impression that these wines would be clearly "Banyuls without the fortification". But these underrated gems have a completely different character; rich, exotically spicy, and exhilarating in vibrancy and power, they can age for 5-10 years.

History

The region's AOC was established in 1971, exactly a year before the 1972 incorporation of the Banyuls region. The wines had been around for much longer, since wine was first introduced to the region by the Greeks. The Spanish influence on Collioure wine is obvious: the wines are spicy and full-bodied in a classically Languedoc way, yet dark, smooth, elegant, and almost wild in a way that isn't very French.

Climate and Viticulture

At the very south of the Roussillon, bordering on Spain's northerly region--Catalonia--Collioure is almost more Spanish than French in many geographical and viticultural ways. Warm and dry summers make for spicy, ripe, dry wines, and the influence of the sea often lightens the wines and makes them more elegant. Where schist and limestone combine, on the towering hills above the region, the most full and Rhône-like of Collioure's wines are produced.

Grape Varieties

The confusing rules of the Collioure appellation dictate the use of exactly five red grapes for the red wines, which must be blends. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre must together make up 60% of the blend (but no individual one can make up more than 90%), while Carignan and Cinsaut are allowed in smaller quantities.

The shocking spicy tinge in these wines that reminds many drinkers of Southern Rhône styles indicates Collioure wines' main varietal: Grenache. The wines are an essence of the grape, with earthy, modest flavors of sweet red fruit and herbs. Mourvèdre, which is not used in Banyuls, adds a darker note.

Major Producers

Collioure is a large appellation, but many of the wines deliver the magic. As such this appellation is quite reliable. Nonetheless, we list four producers whose wines are readily available in the United States and exceed the norm.

Subregions

Collioure is most closely related to Banyuls, which shares its geographical boundaries. Collioure has no subregions.