Historically, the smuggling of goods such as tobacco, leather and silver, to and from Spain was a major activity in Banyuls-sur-Mer, otherwise the inhabitants lived mainly from fishing and viticulture. Nowadays, tourism stemming from the wine industry plays a significant economic role in the town notable for its delicious and rare red Banyuls dessert wine. This most southerly of appellations in France has a climate which is well suited to viticulture - plenty of sunshine ensures optimum ripening conditions, whilst the strong Tramontane wind keeps the vines pest free.
Christine Campedieu and Vincent Cantié produce a superb Banyuls Réserva from a blend of Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir that has a 3-4 year élevage in barrel and vat. This dark-hued Vin Doux Naturel has intense dried fruit aromas and a sweet, juicy palate packed with complex blackberry, cherry and raspberry flavours. It is best served lightly-chilled and makes a superb accompaniment to dark chocolate desserts (a notoriously difficult match) and to strong, hard cheeses. An opened bottle will keep happily for a fortnight if refrigerated but we doubt you will need to test its longevity!