le Roc des Anges

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Marjorie and Stephane Gallet create wines so snappy and fresh, so mineral-driven that you'd picture being in the Loire when drinking them. Schist soils devoid of pretty much any absorbent material - i.e. anything to aid in water retention - create those beautiful mineral tones, and also keep the wines from becoming inordinately plush.

It's an interesting conundrum - the Roussillon, long known for its wines of great plumpness, outward character and perhaps never quite reaching a pinnacle of greatness, has now birthed a winery possessing tremendous potential by way of creating wines in the very opposite style. How do the local wine authorities reward them? Removing a star from their rating for essentially being atypical. Time will prove this foolish.

The winemaking talent and vision is clear - there is such little actual soil or clay in the vineyard sites, so the wines have little choice but to be so transparent of their minerally sites. Biodynamic treatments help to maintain the health of what vines and clusters can thrive in these sites.

The whites are pressed whole-cluster, soft enough to not extract any skin tannin and preserve the crystalline quality. Fermentations happen in multiple sizes of barrels, and the wines are allowed to ferment freely. There are low pH numbers but the acidity stays moderate, in tune and balance with the wine as a whole.

Red wines are often partial whole-cluster, but more often than not are de-stemmed but not crushed. None of the wines are temperature-controlled during fermentations, their naturally cool cellar providing balance as the wines ferment naturally. Part of the way through the fermentation, the wine is racked off the skins and allowed to ferment as juice only; this is slower and allows for malo-lactic conversion to occur. "“At this point, it is a vegetable soup,” says Marjorie. “We wait for it to settle. It’s untastable. It has every fault imaginable. But once it has settled, the purity is incredible.” Agreed.

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