Skipping on schist – Domaine Augustin
As that almighty crow flies, it’s a mere 12km to the French-Spanish border from Colliure. In reality however, it’s actually 25km of twisty roads that take nearly an hour to cover if holiday camping vans don’t slow you down. On the other side of the border is Catalan Spain and DO Empordà which it would be hard to argue is not a continuation of the Banyuls/Colliure wine-growing region and one that bore witness to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing after the Spanish Civil War.
Augustin Parcé knows these little winding roads perhaps a touch too well and has little problem racing amongst the slopes that appear to be in a state of constantly crashing down towards his native village of Colliure. He’s the 6th brother in a very large family of nine siblings from the village and while he may just have started his namesake Domaine Augustin in 2015, the family has a much longer claim to the area having opened Domaine de la Rectoire back in 1984. Before that, as is wont to be with the region-born-of-ashes narrative, they’d been selling their grapes to the local cooperative prior to striking out on their own.
If the question is ever raised as to how many winemakers can be in one cellar, nine is clearly on the side of “too many” as with so many siblings, they needed to spread out a little thus Domaine Augustin was created out of necessary convenience. This was reasonable given that the Parcé family were at the forefront of recognizing quality in the territory in terms of dry wines and knew which path to take from their experience with Rectoire–and it readily shows in how even their first vintages are dazzling.
What’s interesting is that while it’s easy to think of Banyuls and Colliure as the sweet and dry binaries of one another, it doesn’t quite work that way. While Banyuls can be produced as a white fortified wine, it’s the achingly-long and persistent reds from Grenache that set mouths watering. But this doesn’t mean that the still wines of Colliure find their strengths in the reds. As Augustin puts it, “The Colliure reds have a great deal of variation between the producers but the whites are where you find more consistency.”
This is immediately clear when tasting their wines. The reds are lovely and fresh, but there is a windswept lift and clarity to their white, Adéodat meaning, “what God gives”, as well as other cellars. Producers such as Domaine Madeloc with their Crestall or Clos Saint Sebastien’s Le Clos show that there is indeed a path to the future for the reds as well but much like Augustin says, the whites show a uniformity for the region that really underlines and defines Colliure and its rough shores of the Mediterranean where dotted old fishing villages have long since submitted to seasonal touristic sprawl. Having lasted survived disease and wars, one can only hope that the vineyards are able to tough out this storm as well given that AOC Colliure is just starting to show its brilliance.
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
Domaine Augustin - Cuvée 2016
Ruby. Crisp strawberry and cherry, bit of old leather, cracked black pepper, and light mineral notes. Light and crisp on the palate, touch muted in the middle with a medium finish and acidity.
Grenache, Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 12EUR