Le Soula 2010 is a white wine from Cotes Catalanes, the eastern end of the Pyrenees, inland from Perpignan. A hot, dry climate means that white wines can sometimes lack the freshness – and longevity – that acidity brings. The vines for this wine are grown in vineyards 320 – 535 metres high (it’s cooler higher up) and on poor soils so the vines’ roots have to search hard for water; less water content in the berries means lower yields and more flavour.
There is a mix of six different grape varieties in the blend: Macabeo (59%), Sauvignon (18%) and Grenache Blanc (13%) dominate; Chardonnay (6%), Malvoisie (3%) and Vermentino (1%) also play a part. That’s quite a blending operation which, when added to 21 months in oak barrels, shows a fair attention to quality by the producer Gabriel Gauby.
Our notes mention its deep, lemon/gold colour, indicating some ageing, and medium levels of viscosity. The low acidity showed through on the nose where the predominant smell was of bruised apples rather than fresh picked fruit. We could see why, on the nose, it may be (mistakenly) considered oxidised. The gentle acidity showed on the palate which was dry, of medium length and characterised by stone fruit and minerality (Richard). The alcohol was in balance.
This was another good southern French white, our third in recent tastings, which would match strongly flavoured white meats. We had it with tinned octopus pieces,
[Richard: from Waitrose Cellar Online, £28. As Geoff says another classy white from southern France. Ready to drink and it might have been better decanted as it continued to develop over the evening. Interesting that this winemaker can make comparatively (13.5%) low alcohol wines with plenty of flavour, something those in the Rhone claim climate change makes impossible.]