Best of Roussillon with La Tour Apollinaire The Wines of Chateau Valmy – Argeles-sur-Mer, France
Once we stopped staring at the view and entered the new and equally attractive building we were greeted by Martine Carbonnell, who together with her husband, Bernard, are the owners and driving forces behind Chateau Valmy’s resurrection, and by Laurent Batlle, the cellar master.
Valmy is located just east of the seaside town of Argeles-sur-Mer, France, in the foothills of the Alberes massif in the Pyrenees Orientales, about 20 km south of Perpignan. At the feet of the the chateau, you’ll discover the Cote Vermeille with the celebrated villages of Collioure, Port-Vendres, and Banyuls-sur-Mer. Barcelona, Andorra, and the Cathar country are just a few hours away by car or train.
Valmy’s tasting room and the banquet rooms upstairs have even more magnificent views. The overwhelming desire is to just pull up a chair, relax, and enjoy the wines.
Four dry wines and two “vins doux naturels” make up the current range of Chateau Valmy wines. Not surprisingly, the number of awards has continued to grow.
Le Premier de Valmy – AOC Cotes du Roussillon (Aged in oak barrels)
Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache Noir grapes, cultivated on granite soils and harvested by hand are used in this cuvee’.
Valmy’s wine master combines the traditional vinification with a long maceration. After 12 months of barrel aging in the winery’s air-conditioned cellars, the wine is placed in numbered bottles worthy of laying down to discover its full complexity.
Les Roses Blanches de Valmy – Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes (Vinified in oak barrels)
Beautiful white roses adorn the entrance to the vines and give their name to this cuvee’ made from a blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc, planted on the estate’s coolest, pebbly terroirs.
Low yields, manual harvesting and continuous sorting, followed by vinification and aging in oak barrels, gives us a wine that is pale gold with silver tints. The wine master suggested that it complements the iodized accents of freshly caught fish, cooked on the skin.
Chateau Valmy Rouge – AOC Cotes du Roussillon
Harvested by hand, this wine contains mostly Syrah, plus Grenache Noir and Mourvedre, grown on pebbly terraces with shallow soil.
Partly vinified by carbonic maceration, temperatures are constantly controlled to maintain the deep purple color and fruity character of this cuvee’. The nature of this wine complements both red meats and, if lightly chilled, simply prepared fish dishes.
Chateau Valmy Rose’ – AOC Cotes du Roussillon
Grown on our well-exposed slopes, Gyrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre are harvested and sorted by hand in the freshness of the morning. The wine is a pink that is both bright and deep. Cheerful, fruity aromas dominate this characterful blend, with its rich and refreshing flavors.
Serve well chilled, perhaps with Collioure anchovies or Serrano ham.
L’Or de Valmy – AOC Muscat de Rivesaltes
The Muscat a’ Petits Grains is an early ripening grape variety, usually cultivated on poor soils on high terraces.
After maturing on fine lees, bottling takes place in the spring following harvest. Then the bottles are stored in an air-conditioned cellar. This wine is characterized by its smooth and silky texture and fresh fruit aromas.
Best served at 8 degrees C as an aperitif or with goat cheese. Or, serve with desserts based around white fruits.
Valmya – AOC Rivesaltes Grenat
Harvested from smaller vineyard parcels on terraces in front of the chateau, Grenache Noir, which originated in Spain, has contributed to the renown of Valmy’s wines.
The bottling of this Revesaltes, whose fermentation was halted with the addition of pure grape alcohol to the fermenting grapes, takes place after two-years’ aging in a reducing environment, which conserves its aromatic potential.
With its garnet color and amber tints, it presents intense notes of stone fruits. It is a wonderful accompaniment to blue cheese or even a chocolate dessert.
A warm welcome at Chateau Valmy
There is so much more to the story of the Chateau. An interesting history beginning in 1888, beautiful guest rooms, the surrounding countryside, and more to come in future articles.
La Tour Apollinaire sells a range of the wonderful Valmy wines in the minibar of its apartments, and you can of course go to the actual cellar for the full wine tasting experience?.