The wines of Domaine Le Soula, Roussillon, France
Some of the south of France's most remarkable wines

Le Soula is one of the south of France’s most exciting wineries. It’s a partnership between Gérard Gauby, famed winegrower of the Roussillon, and UK wine merchants Roy Richards and Mark Walford, based on old abandoned vineyards in the Fenouillèdes, which Gauby discovered back in 2001. To go with the vineyards, the three bought an old building in Saint Martin de Fenouillet, which they converted into a cellar in time for the first vintage (2001).

The operation grew, and in 2008 added Gérald Standley to the team as general manager, working alongside Gauby. They also moved the winery to an old co-op in Prugnanes, with some more space. I tasted these wines with Gérald.

The key to Le Soula is the quality of the vineyards. These are mostly small plots of old vines, spread out over quite a distance: there are 15 km between the furthest vineyards. ‘It takes half a day minimum to visit all the vineyards,’ says Gérald. They are all on decomposed granite, with the exception of one small parcel on schist. All have slightly different expositions, and the altitude ranges from 350–600 metres. Yields are low, ranging from 14–18 hl/ha.

Reds are made with whole bunches in the ferments. There is no acidification, and natural yeast ferments are employed. The wines are matured in large vats (1500 litres) and demi-muids (500 litres).

UK agent is Richards Walford, and retail prices are given in brackets.


Le Soula Rouge 2008 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France  
Fresh, bright and expressive with lovely taut cherry and berry fruit. Fresh with some mineral notes and good acidity. Youthful and expressive with nice purity and lovely freshness. 93/100 (£20.99)

Le Soula Rouge 2007 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France
Smoky, mineral, flinty edge to the pure red fruits nose. Lovely fresh, bright, supple berry and cherry fruits here. Expressive and mineral with lovely freshness and precision. 93/100 (£20.99)

Le Soula Blanc 2008 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France
Intense, fresh, quite pure fruit on the nose. The palate is textured yet fresh with tight mineral, spice and subtle flint notes. Real precision and intensity here. Potential for further development. 93/100 (£20.99)

Domaine Le Soula Blanc 2007 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France
14% alcohol. From vineyards high up in the Fenouillèdes with decomposed granite soils. Very interesting, flinty, minerally, spicy, savoury nose with some bright citrus fruit. The palate is savoury and structured with fresh apple and citrus notes, as well as white peach and nice minerality. Complex and savoury with some nice matchstick reduction in the background. Quite profound. 92/100

Le Soula Blanc 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France  
Beautiful aromatics: herbs, apples, nuts and minerals. Taut and expressive. The palate is fresh with high acidity and a lovely savoury, nutty, mineral edge, as well as ripe apple notes. So fresh and complex. 94/100 (£20.99)

See also:

The wines of Matassa, Roussillon

Wines tasted 01/11  
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