Kel’s experience lending a hand at Domaine Treloar in the Roussillon last year coincides with Ruth’s journey to the same Domaine a year later – this week in fact, so what better time to introduce this particular producer and tell you a bit about why we like their wines so much.
Jonathan Hesford and Rachel Treloar own and run this winery in a lovely corner of The Roussillon in the very south of France and make a range of wines to match.
Both gave up their New York City careers in the wake of the 9/11 event, living only blocks from the heart of the attack on the Twin Towers, they decided to change direction and head for a life making and selling their own wine. Initially moving to New Zealand, whereby Rachel can claim Maori Royalty in her blood, Jonathan spent time learning his trade with Neudorf Vineyards, becoming Assistant Winemaker, and qualifying at Lincoln University (NZ).
Moving to France in 2005, they found an old winery with parcels of mature vines in 2006, which is now established as Domaine Treloar and has enabled them to create for themselves the types of wines that they enjoy.
Domaine Treloar produces a complete range from white, rose, red and fortified. The wines have names that are representative of either the 9/11 events, Bruce Springsteen or Rachel’s Kiwi heritage, for example, their flagship red Tahi means “1” in Maori.
We have enjoyed all their wines with particular favourites:
La Terre Promise: Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Carignan Blanc – Medium bodied, dry white wine, well rounded and balanced with a fruity honeyed nuttiness (even a touch of wet stone) and mineral edge.
Three Peaks: Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache – Lovely deep ruby colour, red and black fruits, strawberries and blackberries, violets and chocolate, hints of rosemary underpinned with smooth silky tannins.
Motus: Mourvedre – Dark sour cherries, raspberries and blackcurrants, dark chocolate, notes of black olive and white pepper. Well structured wine.
Muscat de Rivesaltes: Muscat à Petit Grains – Late harvest, sweet Muscat, dried fruit aromas of orange peel, apricot and honey, rich mouthfeel and a nuttiness to the finish.
Kel arrived last year just in time to lend a hand with picking the Mourvedre, as the harvest had arrived earlier than originally expected. On the other hand, this year it looks as though it will be a few weeks later! However, we are sure that Ruth will be kept busy.
Vineyard downtime last year was utilised by constructing decking for the gîte holiday accommodation and by all accounts is still looking good too.
Also last year, Jonathan was experimenting with a batch of Carignan grapes, of which Kel had a go with punching down the cap the good old fashioned way by … feet. This has now been bottled under the title of Le Maudit which translates as The Damned! Something that we are looking forward to trying.
If you want to know what wines from the Roussillon are all about, then Domaine Treloar would be a good way in which to be introduced, as we think that they are a great example of how to make fabulous wines from this part of the world.
No doubt Ruth shall have a tale or two to tell when she gets home, including an update on all those wonderful wines.
In May, we managed to get down to this year’s London International Wine Fair, held for the last time at ExCel before moving to Olympia next year!
It was great to see many familiar faces including the gang from Local Wine School, International Wine Challenge, Ribafreixo, Alentejo, Portugal and Kathy from Jordan Winery, Stellenbosch, South Africa. We also had the pleasure of meeting Virginia Wines producer Andrew Hodson, Veritas Wines, whose Petit Verdot 2010 we were introduced to at a recent NEWTS tasting and a rather top wine it was too.
We had the opportunity to try wines from new and far off places, Brazil, China, Japan, Georgia, India, Mexico, Peru, Ukraine but we were too late to try Thailand – already quaffed! It was great to see many English Wine Producers at the Hub’s pop-up tasting, including the multi-award winning Gusbourne Estate sparkling wine range (IWC, IWSC and Decanter).
However, it wasn’t all just tasting, there was learning to be done too! We attended Masterclasses and talks on:
- “Croatia’s Flagship Wine”, Graševina, with Joe Wadsack and Saša Špiranec
- Koshu with Lynne Sherriff
- “How to communicate with your customer” with the Knackered Mother herself Helen McGinn
- Languedoc-Roussillon Sud de France Top 100 Wine Competition Teaser Tasting with Tim Atkin
- Hungarian “Volcanoes and Vines” with Dr Caroline Gilby
As an interlude, we headed to The Cork and Bottle Wine Bar, squeezed between retail outlets in Leicester Square, quite retro 80s in feel, reasonable selection of wines, especially liked the Callabriga 2008 from Douro, Portugal. On the food front, the mixed platter was a bit of a let down but the chips were good.