I continued heading south on the D6009 highway through Narbonne and Sigean, to the edge of the Étang de Salses-Leucate, where the town (and wine region) of Fitou is located. I stopped in at the local wine cooperative, which covers the Appellations d’Origine Controlées of Fitou, Rivesaltes and Corbières, for some wine tasting. There were lots of wines, in a variety of styles, on offer in the shop. After speaking with the woman at the counter I decided to taste through some unoaked reds, oaked reds, and to finish with the local dessert wines, known as Vins Doux Naturels, a type of lightly fortified wine. Note that the red wines of Fitou must contain a minimum of 40% Carignan and the remaining blend can be made up of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. I began with the Fitou Réserve 2009 (€4.80) from Vignobles Cap Leucate, an unoaked blend. It was medium ruby in colour, with dark fruit and some eucalyptus or menthol on the nose. It was dry with medium-plus acidity, medium body, medium tannins and dark fruits on the palate. The 2011 Fitou Terre Natale (€6.20) was a blend similar to the first wine, also unoaked. The colour was medium ruby with caramel-apple, plum and dark fruit on the nose. It was dry with medium body, medium-plus acidity and medium-plus tannins with flavours of dark fruit and spice. The 2010 Domaine de Cézelly (€6.20) was a medium ruby with dark fruit, spice and smoke on the nose. It was dry with medium-plus tannins, medium acidity and flavours of dark fruit and spice. It was very well-balanced and had a nice finish; I bought a bottle.
Onto the reds that were aged in oak barrels. The St Pancrace 2011 (€8.60) was a medium ruby in colour with a bit of funk on the nose. I believe there were fairly high levels of Bret and I couldn’t really get past the nose. The Fitou Le Maritime 2010 by Famille Cézelly-St. Martin (€7.80) was medium-plus ruby in colour with deep dark fruit and spice on the nose. It was dry with full tannins and medium-plus acidity. It had flavours of dark fruit and a bit of complexity; very nice. The Dame de Cézelly Cap 42° 2009 was ruby coloured with a garnet hue. It had a tiny bit of funk on the nose but not enough to put me off. It had aromas and flavours of cherry, plum, some earthiness, complexity and some really interesting flavours; this was tasty and the most expensive bottle at €16.
Finally, the dessert wines. The Muscat de Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel Traditionnel (€6.20) was a pale lemon/straw colour with a light fruity nose. It had a round, full mouthfeel and lovely Muscat characteristics. It was sweet with medium-plus acidity. The Royal Vin Doux Naturel (€7.40) had won the gold medal earlier this year at the prestigious Paris General Agricultural Competition. It was a pale straw colour and the nose had a medium intensity with lovely Muscat aromatics. It was sweet but balanced with a lovely kick of acidity. It had a lighter mouthfeel than the previous wine, almost delicate. It had a long finish and was really quite delicious.