Jerome Collas worked for the INAO at Paris (the organisation responsible for administering and approving Appellations) and then for a large Cooperative in the South of France, where he was responsible for working with the growers. During this time he dreamt of having his own vines
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Jerome on his estate
In 2012 Jerome bought his first vines near Maury in the Roussillon, not far from the Spanish border. This is a dry mountainous area, where little except vines grow. Today he has 10 hectares and produces around 40,000 bottles a year. Most of the vines are very old bush vines. Their age and low yields give really intense full flavours.
Some of Jerome's vines
The soil is very poor and the vines difficult to work. It iakes seriously hard graft to make wine here. Jerome doesn’t care. He says that he is preserving some of the “patrimoine” or heritage of his land and it doesn’t matter to him that the work is hard because he has wonderful views to enjoy.
In the winery there is a mix of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. This gives the opportunity to produce an interesting range of wines. Jerome’s Maury, an unoaked red with lovely sweet fruit, has won awards so I expected this to be good. The barrel-fermented white Fine Fleur was an unexpected revelation. Jerome takes his best white grapes and ferments them in oak barrels. A very rare wine that is normally only to be found in Restaurants and specialist wine shops in the region.
Old bush vines with the Canigou Mountain in the background