Chateau Saint-Roch Cotes du Roussillon Kerbuccio Maury Sec 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
One of the greatest values in the wine world has to be the Kerbuccio cuvée from Jean-Marc Lafage’s Chateau Saint Roch estate in Maury. The 2017 isn’t going to break the trend. Checking in as a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it’s a blockbuster, deep, massive effort that just screams Grenache from Maury. Ripe blackberries, melted chocolate, black cherries, and cured meat notes all emerge from this beautifully textured, layered, opulent wine that stays balanced and pure. Brought up in 80% new demi-muids, it shows no sense of its oak élevage, has beautiful purity and freshness, and tastes like it cost 4-5 times the price. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.
Recently purchased by Jean Marc Lafage, Chateau Saint Roch is located in the Maury Area of the Agly Valley, which is 15 miles from Perpignan and the Mediterranean Sea. The castle of Queribus, built by the Cantharis, at the top of the steep Corbières Mountain watches over the vineyards from the north. Each plot is now surrounded by black berry bushes, fig trees, pomegranate trees, cherry trees, carob trees, oaks, as well as fields of thyme, lavender and fennel.
The soil of the hills is made up of schiste clay with a limestone base and their altitudes vary between 120 to 370 meters. The wind, called here the "Tramontane", circulates in this corridor between Fenouillèdes and Corbières. The southern Catalan sun takes advantage of the refractive qualities of the schist from this ancient icy plateau to give St Roch its unique light.
A northern point in France’s far southern Roussillon region, Maury is dominated by steep limestone cliffs and the castle of Queribus, which the French used as a defense outpost against the Spanish until 1659. Today it remains an important symbol of the presence of both cultures in the region.
Though Maury is famous for vins doux naturels (a style of fortified wine), Maury dry red wines are quickly becoming more in vogue and received their own appellation designation in 2011, called Maury Sec. As is the case in most of Roussillon, Grenache plays a key role here. The region’s schist-dominant vineyards, which climb up to 1,300 feet, are excellent for the production of Grenache of all styles.
For Maury dry red wines, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah act as blending partners with Granche Noir. In the production of vins doux naturels, Grenache Gris and Blanc play a subsidiary role. The latter are characterized using the same terminology as that in Riveslates with those named as grenat or tuilé based on Grenache Noir and those described as ambré or blanc containing more Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.