Between cellar and garden, from Mas Guillaume to the terraced vineyards that surround it, the Clos Castell offers a site and Collioure and Banyuls wines intimately tied to one of the rarest terroirs of Roussillon.
Between chemistry and alchemy
Au Clos Castell, viticulture has been a tradition for three generations. In 1998, it was Jean-Christophe José who took over from the family. Endowed with solid knowledge in chemistry - background conducive to serving the production of wines - he watches over a heritage of vines rooted in the schists of Banyuls-sur-Mer. The domain runs on the slopes which dominate the Mas Guillaume, seat of the ancestral home with centuries-old walls. On this rocky land, Grenaches and Carignans have pride of place. The cup size forges a landscape where the vines in bouquet punctuate the mineral slopes on all sides. Minerality that determines the profile of these wines from a land where two appellations overlap: Collioure et Banyuls. Because the art of the winegrower in these Catalan lands requires dominating the alchemy of dry wines as well as natural sweet wines.
Between the schist and the vine
Below the Clos Castell catch a glimpse Banyuls sur Mer. From these sometimes steep-sided reliefs, the Mediterranean can be guessed more than it is seen. Some days, the wind which sweeps it up to the foam rises strongly among the vines. They have become accustomed to the squall. They have no pretension to grow: they stand well on their low and thick stocks. They draw a sap from the mineral soil that the sun concentrates. The yields are earth-like: not exuberant but strong in character. Here, plant competition is a fight between species. The choice to grass the vineyard imposes a selection of the least invasive endemic plants. Jean-Christophe José is attached to it, with the project of raising the environmental quality of the area.
Between the cellar and the garden
Taste a Collioure or an Banyulsis to savor the radiance of mineral earth and the power of its sap. At Clos Castell also counts the privacy of the cellar and the garden. Because if the Collioure wines keep quiet in the cellar, the Banyuls gain the outside and the terraces. Some seek shade and shelter so that the tannins round out and the bouquets develop. The others call on oxygen and the sun which concentrate their sugars and make their juices more complex. Thus are tasted in the first place red wines and white wines. First a Collioure Red, made from old Grenache and Carignan which develops its bouquet of red fruits and spices in familiar contact with the new wood barrel. Then a Collioure White, where the Grenaches Gris, always in contact with a discreet wood, come to establish their mineral complexity on a marriage of flowers and citrus fruits.
Between the shade and the sun
Au Clos Castell, when the musts are transformed into natural sweet wines, a Banyuls Rimage concentrated on bright notes of cherry and spices. When aging is prolonged in barrels, it generates a Traditional Banyuls, patiently enriched with notes of nuts, cocoa and prunes. If the breeding continues in glass bottles exposed to the sun, comes day one Banyuls-Rancio with accents of caramel and candied oranges. Ultimate elegance is in a Banyuls Grand Cru that it is expressed. Here, the oldest Grenache vines will offer juices of the highest expression after 30 months of oxidative aging. They then reveal their powerful aromatic structures, where morello cherries compete with chocolate, where roasted coffee flirts with fig.
The delicacies of Clos Castell
On these slopes where the vines generate concentrated flavors, Jean-Christophe Jose has chosen to explore his Grenaches to all their potential. This is how we also find the Banyuls chocolates white or red, the Saffron jelly with white Banyuls, Confit of Figs with Banyuls and Banyuls Wine Vinegar.