The little appellation of Collioure
flourishes between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, in the far south of the Pyrenees-Orientales department. The vineyards, which overlap with those of Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru, extend into the villages of Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls, and Cerbère. Collioure covers 1,700 hectares (4,201 acres), but only 640 ha (1,581 acres) of those are currently dedicated to this appellation, for an annual production of about 19,000 hectoliters of red (70% of the production), white, and rosé.
In a vast amphitheater facing the sea, the vineyards of Collioure sit on small terraces supported by 6,000 kilometers (3,718 miles) of dry stone walls that have been built over the centuries by many generations of vignerons (winegrowers). The hillsides, which reach up to a 40% slope, sit on a bedrock of Cambrian brown schist. The terroir is perfectly conveyed by the wines from such producers as Domaine Coume del Mas, Domaine de la Rectorie, Cave de l'Abbé Rous, and Domaine du Mas Blanc.
Old vines of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc help white Collioures reach the full potential of the terroir. These great southern wines go perfectly with the rich products of the Mediterranean. The distinctive, structured, powerful, fat rosés are bottled early to preserve their freshness and aromatic intensity. The red wines, made from Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan Noir, may be released the July 1st following the harvest, but most growers mature their wines for a year or more before bottling. Collioure is a fleshy, warm, concentrated, tannic wine that benefits from long aging.