Introducing the Superb Roussillon Wines of Cyril Fhal, Clos du Rouge Gorge!

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We first met Cyril Fhal in 2004 at the Dive Bouteille, a "natural" wine show in the Loire Valley, where he was showing his 2002 Carignan/Grenache red and a 2003 white from 100% Maccabeu. The wines were elegant, balanced and full of character, certainly among the finest from the new generation of wine-makers in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Subsequent vintages from the quietly talented M. Fhal have been uniquely beautiful, with pure silky fruit, moderate levels of alcohol and firm acidity - delicious examples of the indigenous grapes of the Roussillon, but available only at a hand-full of retailers and wine-bars in Europe.  Finally, the team of Ten Bells and Chambers Street has obtained a small allocation of Cyril's wines from the excellent 2009 and 2011 vintages. We're proud to have these lovely wines at Chambers Street and we urge you to try them!

Cyril Fhal came to the Roussillon from the Loire Valley, and found small parcels of north-facing hillside vineyards, on gneiss, near the village of Latour-de-France, about 20 miles north-west of Perpignan, with the soil,  exposure and altitude of the vines giving freshness and minerality to the wines. The vines have been tended in biodynamic farming from the beginning, with light plowing by hand, horse or rototiller, there being no tractor at the domain. Natural composts and biodynamic treatments have revitalized the soil, and plants and flowers between and around the vines bring beneficial insects and a diverse fauna. Cyril rejected the AOC regulations of the Roussillon, which require 30% Syrah or Mourvedre, not indigenous to the region, "which by their excess of maturity and lack of acidity in this climat, result in fat and heavy wines," thus his reds from the local Carignan and Grenache are Vins de Pays Cote Catalanes. "This manipulation of varieties, followed by chemical agriculture has created a magnificent AOC without tradition and without soil!" The local Maccabeo for the white is the most apt, according to Cyril, at expressing the mineral character of the soil 'with a certain transparency." Yields at Clos Rouge Gorge are normally 10 to 20 hl/ha, harvesting is by hand into small baskets, light crushing by foot is followed by slow fermentations (traditional, not carbonic maceration) with no extraction, alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentation in barrel. (Details on each wine appear in the notes) These are wines of great purity and finesse that combine delicacy and power - bravo to Cyril Fhal for his superb work in the vineyard and cellar!

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Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2011 VdP des Côtes Catalanes Jeunes Vignes

From  25 year-old Grenache vines in a parcel on gneiss subsoil called Mont-Redon. Hand-harvested into small baskets, foot pressing followed by three month vinification in wooden vats, then 8 months aging in stainless steel. 13% alcohol, bottled retaining some of the natural CO2. "An infusion of grapes, allowing an expression of the delicacy of the variety"  Aromas of rose petal and wild strawberry, with aeration blood orange, brown spice and animal notes emerge. The palate is very earthy with firm acids framing dark fruits and tart cherry. This is an unusually subtle and complex Grenache, to be enjoyed over the next 3 to 5 years, serve quite cool.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2009 VdP des Côtes Catalanes Vieilles Vignes (3 btls max)

90% Carignan, 10% Grenache, from  70 to 100 year-old vines on north and east facing slopes on terroir of gneiss. Yields of 15 to 20 hl/ha. Light foot pressing, whole bunch fermentation in wooden vats. Light extraction at low temperature, no pumping over or cap punching, 12 months in 500 liter barrel and old barriques. Bottled unfiltered, by gravity, total SO2 less than 20 mg/liter. 3500 bottles produced.
"The 2009 Vieilles Vignes is a wine with a great deal of power and depth, it merits being cellared a bit longer to soften it's structure"  We'll write a tasting note in five years....

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2009 VdP des Côtes Catalanes L'Ubac (1 btl per customer)

"L'Ubac (slope with the least sun) is from one of those rare parcels well suited to the Cinsault of the Roussillon. This variety which made it's reputation in certain wines before phylloxera, has been neglected or poorly planted since, often in the plains where it's capable of prodigious, that is to say catastrophic yields. This parcel is a 70 degree slope on gneiss facing due north, with 40 year-old vines worked by hand and by horse. It's the Pinot Noir of the south for me! A material very fine, very delicate, with length and a strong signature of terroir. With the Cinsault, there is Carignan from the same parcel planted in 1905, which due to it's age and it's location on the steep slope, has truly a profile very mineral and fine. Whole bunch maceration, but foot-tread when put in cuve as I don't wish to have carbonic maceration. I keep the stems for the finesse of the tannins that they give. 20 month aging in 500 liter Austrian demi-muid."

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $49.99

Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2011 VdP des Côtes Catalanes Blanc (Maccabeu)

We generally think that a well-regarded winemaker about whom there is little information available on the web is probably a good winemaker. He or she is more concerned with time spent in the vines than with websites and social media. The downside to the reclusive, genius vigneron, is that when one goes to try to find out what one drank and fell in love with, the information super highway produces very little. I really enjoyed the bottle of Maccabeu I drank from Cyril Fhal, and what a challenge to find out about it! The wine comes from a half hectare of 80 year old Maccabeu grapes grown on gneiss and is aged in 500 liter barriques. Mellow on the nose with a hint of low-sulfur spritz and funk, waxy, yellow, tropical fruits, the wine is intensely minerally and taught for the warm climate of Mediterranean France. My advice: drink this bottle over three days; on the third day the mineral core and long finish truly reveal themselves. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99