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Domaine de la Tour Vieille Banyuls “Vin de Meditation” (Roussillon) – Rancio, plum, and caramel. The first sip is enticing, the second tiresome…and that, unfortunately, is too often my reaction to this house’s various takes on Banyuls. So drink it in single-shot quantities, I guess. (11/10)

Go to the Mât

Dr. Parcé “Domaine du Mas Blanc” 2006 Banyuls “Le Mât Blanc Fruité” (Roussillon) – Despite the name, this is red. Raspberry-sauced chocolate, full and (as promised) fruity, with only the minor interference of oxidation. However, the concentration on fruit brings out some of the grenache-y bubblegum aromas, which (for me) detract from the unique qualities of Banyuls. It’s Banyuls with training wheels, and good in that idiom, but I think I prefer something a little more authentic. (7/09)

Grenache in the time of Traginer

Domaine du Traginer 2006 Banyuls “Rimage” (Roussillon) – To be honest, I’d prefer this wine without the slight oxidation; the dirty/gravelly red fruit and sticky-sweet texture braced by sharp acidity would be more appealing were they fresher. But this is the style, and so it is what it is. (8/08)

Rectorie ball

[glass]Parcé Frères “La Rectorie” 1998 Banyuls “Cuvée Léon Parcé” (Roussillon) – Long, opaque sheets of cocoa-dusted raspberry fruit paste baking in the Catalan sun. Only mildly sweet, with most of its structure faded, leaving an easygoing core of fruit-derived blackness bracketed by softness. Quite good, but needs to be consumed. (It must be noted that the provenance of this bottle was questionable; perfectly-stored bottles may be fresher.) (4/08)

Banyuls Brenner

Traginer 2005 Banyuls Blanc (Roussillon) – I’m rapidly getting to the point with Banyuls that if the red isn’t brilliantly-made (which, for me, means oxidative restraint), I prefer to drink the white. That’s somewhat true at Traginer, who I think is well-capable of great reds, but more consistent with their white. Here, there’s a pretty – not overly sweet, but nicely-balanced – glass of seaside sunshine, with fresh heirloom apricot (there’s some exotic aromatics in there) and a lot of concentrated sunlight. The finish is perhaps a little shorter than one might prefer. (12/07)

TN: Tone Madeloc

Gaillard/Baills “Domaine Madeloc” 2004 Banyuls “Cirera” (Roussillon) – Unsurprisingly, this is a fairly fruit-forward Banyuls. It shares a generally absent nose with a lot of its counterparts, but makes up for it with a rich, sticky-sweet cherry and milk chocolate palate. The cocoa turns darker on the finish, along with some espresso bean, and things stick around for a while (emphasis on “stick”). It’s a good enough wine, a pretty fair bargain, and much better than so many of the over-oxidized versions cranked out by the area’s cooperatives and touristy cellars, but other producers (Parcé, Rectorie) prove that more complexity is achievable. (3/07)