For a long time, Roussillon was the region of mainly red vin en vrac, bulk wine, for the French their everyday wine. A lot of wine is still made there, but the variety is huge. We found passionate winemakers who go their own way and make surprisingly beautiful and special wines in a beautiful landscape with a sunny climate. And organic working is commonplace there. -TEXT & IMAGE KEES VERPLANKE
Roussillon plenty of variety French Catalonia
Roussillon is located in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in the extreme south-east corner of France flanked by the Pyrenees. It is like an amphitheatre, open to the Mediterranean to the east and surrounded by the Corbières, the Alberès and the Pyrenees mountain ranges with the 2,500-metre-high Mount Canigó. The coast with long sandy beaches is a popular holiday region. Especially the sparsely populated Corbieres-Fenouillèdes Regional Nature Park, with its green valleys, rugged mountainous country and rustic villages such as Maury, Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet and Latour-de-France, is an eldorado for hikers and cyclists on an e-bike or a sporty bike.
The region is also called Pyrénées Catalanes and you can see and hear it. The colours of the flag, like those of Catalunya (and Spain), are red and yellow, French and Spanish are spoken, and the menu features Catalan dishes - not very sophisticated, but tasty. When asked, French Catalans have no desire for autonomy. That was different 700 years ago, when there was plenty of war between the two powers of France and Spain. Sometimes the region belonged to one country, sometimes to the other. For this reason, the Cathars were also exterminated partly under pressure from the Catholic Church. It suited the French king geopolitically because of their strategically located castles in the border region, such as Quéribus and Peyrepertuse. Now the ruins are a nice destination for a walk.
Want to know more about French Catalonia? You can read about it in WINELIFE edition 80. You can order this one here!
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