Schists and Grenaches
The appellation Banyuls is superimposed on that of Collioure. The terroir is steep, anchored to the last slopes of schist which descend from the Pyrenees before plunging into the Mediterranean. This sedimentary soil, with steep slopes, immediately forges the character of the vineyard which dominates the Cote Vermeille and Gulf of Lion Marine Natural Park. In the terraced vines, black, gray and white Grenaches are mixed, Macabeu and Muscats à petits grains or from Alexandria. Rooted in the faults of the black schists, they are firmly anchored there to resist the winds. Cut into a goblet, they thrive in sufficient shade to regulate the heat of the sun. Vineyard modeled since Antiquity, the “Banyuls” cru found recognition in 1872, the date on which the Arago law established the legal definition of natural sweet wines (or VDN). In 1903, the Banyuls Appellation d'Origine was created, reinforced in 1936 by its inclusion on the list of the first AOCs.
From Rimage to Rancio
The natural sweet wines produced by the vineyard were traditionally oxidative reds, aged in barrels or in glass carboys. Current methods also give way to non-oxidative breeding, in the spirit of the Maury or Rivesaltes. The Banyuls come in several categories: Amber ou White, Rosé, Rimage et Traditional. Rimage must be obtained from mutage on grain, then matured for 2 to 6 months and only produced in the best years. The Rimage "Mise Tardive" is aged for 1 to 3 years, including 3 months in the bottle. The Banyuls "Hors d'Âge", typically oxidative, can be tasted after a minimum of 5 years, with several vintages contributing to the blend. Without forgetting the " Rancid », Whose maderized character traditionally results from exposure to the sun in demijohn.
Banyuls Grand Cru
The appellation Banyuls "Grand Cru", more recent classification, introduces the notion of excellence. It is reserved for wines produced only in exceptional years. These are characterized by a higher proportion of Grenache rouge and are enhanced by aging in oak barrels for at least 30 months. The sugar gradations, regulated at 4,5% minimum, are distinguished by several mentions: dry, raw or dry. The names “Hors d'Âge” and “Rancio” refer to maturing times similar to those of traditional Banyuls.