Vin de Pays Catalan
Between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, in the heart of Les Aspres, 15 kilometres south-west of Perpignan, Denis Ferrer and Bruno Ribière cultivate 44 hectares of organically certified vines. Their self-imposed remit is to produce characterful wines with a strong expression of terroir by judicious vineyard and cellar management and minimal manipulation. Never mind their eco credentials, what we really care about is what we pour into our wine glasses and what it tastes like and Denis and Bruno pass that test with flying colours. The Domaine-Ferrer Ribière, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes 'Empreinte de Temps' Grenache Blanc is a hell of a mouthful, both verbally and in terms of taste. With an oxidative style and an aromatic profile that is closer to sherry than most commercial table wine, its strong flavours tend to solicit equally strong reactions; a 'Marmite' wine if you like. The palate has an almost briny quality and notes of grilled nuts and minerals prior to a long, persistent finish. It is a terrific food wine, olives, peppers, anchovies or air-dried ham would all be apposite accompaniments.
Denis and Bruno also make an excellent red wine under the 'Empreinte du Temps' label from pure Carignan grown on a precious parcel of 130 year-old pre-phylloxera vines. It has a beguiling bouquet of wild berries and herbs and a medley of sun-kissed Mediterranean flavours supported by supple tannins. It is well-suited to simple, rustic cuisine; some sizzling Toulouse sausages or cassoulet would fit the bill nicely.