Fine, Hand-Crafted Wines from the Roussillon

 

Jonathan Hesford and Rachel Treloar own and run Domaine Treloar, a small (30-acre), highly-regarded wine producing estate in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. If they are winemakers today, it is in no small measure due to New York and 9/11.

 

9/11

On September 11, 2001, living one block away from the World Trade Center, the Treloars - having watched both planes crash into the Twin Towers - left their apartment with only what they could carry. In the aftermath of that disaster, they lost their home, his job and their right to live in the US. (Jonathan is British and Rachel is from New Zealand.)

The experience led them to decide to make their dream a reality. They thus moved to New Zealand for 3 years to study Viticulture and Winemaking and to work for other high-quality vineyards.

While they enjoyed life in New Zealand, they decided to return to Europe to start their own winery. Excited by the great wines being made by other pioneering producers, they traveled through the Languedoc-Roussillon region to find the best possible vineyards. In January 2006, Rachel and Jonathan bought an ancient winery and several parcels of mature vines around the village of Trouillas in the Aspres region of the Roussillon, in the foothills of the Pyrénées. Rachel's Maori and Cornish ancestry is reflected in Domaine Treloar’s logo.

 

 

With these hands...

Domaine Treloar is a truly artisanal operation. In the vineyard, Jonathan and Rachel do it all: pruning, spraying, trimming, plowing, mowing and picking. They hire a couple of people to help with pruning, and a team of about 15 for the harvest. In the winery, Jon does all the jobs, from cleaning the tanks and barrels to performing the analysis.

 

 

The Vineyards

The Domaine only grows grape varieties traditional to the region and only makes wine from grapes grown in its own vineyards. In France this is known as being a Récoltant.

The soils are clay-limestone, or limestone, with pebbles; the vineyards range in altitude from 150 to 250 meters above sea level.

The vines are managed under the Sustainable Viticulture Program, environmental farming that avoids the use of chemical fertilizers and minimizes the amount of spraying by disease monitoring and avoidance of broad-spectrum chemicals. To maintain a “living” soil, herbicides are avoided, organic fertilizers are applied and plowing is done at only certain times of year.

At harvest time, all grapes are picked and sorted by hand and transported back to the winery in small cases to prevent the grapes from breaking in the heat of the vineyard. The furthest vineyard is only a 5 minute drive from the winery.

 

 

Winemaking

Jonathan and Rachel believe that winemaking should be as natural as possible. They thus use low levels of sulfur and avoid the addition of acid, fining agents and preservatives. They rely on healthy grapes and inert gases to protect the wines from oxidation or bacterial spoilage. The white wines are filtered only once or twice and fined only with bentonite to avoid protein haze. The red wines are not fined at all; they just pass through a coarse filter at bottling.

They use only high-quality natural corks which have been treated by microwave to reduce the risk of TCA, and they’ve chosen to bottle all their wines in light-weight bottles for environmental reasons.

What the Critics are Saying

Domaine Treloar’s wines are regarded by Jancis Robinson MW, Britain’s most respected wine critic, as the best in the Roussillon, with eight of the wines currently ranking in her top fifteen.

 

In 2013, Domaine Treloar was chosen as the Coup de Coeur (Favorite) Roussillon producer by La Revue du Vin de France, the country's most influential wine magazine.

 

May 2015, The Wine Advocate (Robert Parker):

"The 2010 Côtes du Roussillon Tahi (200 cases) exhibits lots of olives and meatiness to go with ample dark fruits, peppery herbs and underbrush. Made from 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache that was vinified in concrete tanks before aging 12 months in 30% new barrels, it’s medium-bodied, has integrated acidity and solid underlying structure. In short, this is a classy, well-made wine that will drink well for another 5-7 years.”  90 points

 

THE WINES

 

Whites

 

One Block Muscat

A dry, aromatic and refreshing white wine, One Block is so named because the Treloars were living one block from the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, and because all the grapes for this wine come from one contiguous block of vines.

Appellation: IGP Côtes Catalanes

Vintage: 2013

Grape: 100% Muscat à Petits Grains.

ABV: 13%

Nose: Subtle aromas of elderflowers and grapefruit

Palate: citrus fruits; nice density and a very smooth texture.

Pairings: goat cheese, asparagus, Asian cuisine.

 

Muscat de Rivesaltes

A luscious, late-harvest, fortified sweet wine

Appellation: Muscat de Rivesaltes AOP

Vintage: 2013

Grape: 100% Muscat à Petits Grains

ABV: 16.1%

Nose: beautiful floral aroma

Palate: rich and honeyed, with notes of dried fruits and nuts.

Pairings: before dinner - creamy blue cheeses such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola; after dinner - ice cream and not-too-sweet fruit-based desserts.

 

 

Reds

 

One Block Grenache     

A deep and complex wine, but with soft tannins, aged in used French barriques for 12 months

Appellation: Côtes du Roussillon AOP

Vintage: 2014

Grapes: Grenache Noir (60%), Lledoner Pelut (30%), Carignan (10%)

ABV: 13.5%

Nose: Fennel, and a hint of leather

Palate: flavors of ripe berry fruits, licorice, fennel and dark chocolate cake

Pairings: BBQ, lamb chops, tomato-based pasta dishes

 

Three Peaks

This versatile wine clearly shows the terroir of the Aspres in its refreshing fruit character and medium body.

Appellation: Côtes du Roussillon AOP

 

Vintage: 2014

Grapes: Syrah (65%), Mourvèdre (25%), Grenache (10%)

ABV: 13.7%

 

Vintage: 2015

Grapes: Syrah (55%), Mourvèdre (35%), Grenache (10%)

ABV: 13.7%

 

Nose: fruit, leather

Palate: soft, ripe fruit with a light touch of oak from ageing in older barriques.

Pairings: roast chicken, stews, steaks and grills; eggplant parmigiana; cheeses, of course.

 

Le Secret

A Syrah-based wine with more oak influence than the Three Peaks, and a perfect combination of intense fruit, structured tannins and complex length.

Appellation: Côtes du Roussillon AOP

 

Vintage: 2012

Grapes: Syrah (80%), Grenache (15%), Mourvèdre (5%)

ABV: 14.4%

 

Vintage: 2013

Grapes: Syrah (80%), Grenache (10%), Mourvère (10%)

ABV: 14%

 

Nose: blackberry fruit and a hint of camp-fire

Palate: a well-balanced, complex combination of dark berry fruit, grilled steak and charred wood

Pairings: beef: a great steak, a proper roast or even a gourmet burger.

 

Tahi

The estate’s icon wine. Tahi is the Maori word for "1". It is made from the parcels of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre on Le Roubau, a rare limestone hillside, and aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. Jonathan then selects only the barrels which make the most harmonious combination.

Appellation: Cô֧tes du Roussillon AOP

Vintage: 2011

Grapes: Syrah (60%), Mourvèdre (25%), Grenache (15%)

ABV: 14.5%

Nose: toasty oak and roast coffee, balanced by spicy fruit aromas

Palate: well-balanced yet complex; elegant structure

Pairings: roast leg of lamb, hard cheeses such as Comté, Cantal and Cheddar

 


 

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