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The Wines of Chateau Valmy – Argeles-sur-Mer, France

Chateau Valmy

Courtesy of Chateau Valmy

The fountain in the entryway of the Chateau Valmy winery was sending what should have been a 15-foot high stream about two feet high and 13 feet to the north.  The winds blowing off the Mediterranean were cold and strong, giving us the benefit of a clear blue sky and a beautiful view over the vineyards – a truly astonishing setting. 

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. 

The Valmy wine cellar was entirely re-engineered and renovated in 2000.  The spacious fermentation cellar, with its ranks of stainless-steel vats and rows of new oak barrels, has an expansive unbroken view over the vineyards and out to the horizon over the very blue Mediterranean.  

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. 

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.

Note:  We discovered Valmy wines because of our habit of raiding the minibar in our Perpignan hotel-apartment, La Tour Apollinaire, which sells a range of the wonderful Valmy wines. 

Dennis Payne

Editor-In-Chief at CityRoom. Dennis is a seasoned adventurer, talented businessman, wine enthusiast, and Kona coffee expert. His unique ability to construct well-thought-out, informative, and playful stories about topics of life enjoyment appeals to marketers and dreamers alike. When he is not chasing his vagabond children across faraway lands, he lives in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsu...(Read More)

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