Estate: Renowned, progressive winemaker Dave Phinney owns 300 acres [120 hectares] of vineyards in the Cotes Catalanes, a sub-appellation of the Roussillon in southern France. The vineyards are in the Pyrénées-Orientales mountain range, two hours east of Barcelona, Spain and thirty minutes from the ancient Roman port city of Perpignan. Falling in love with the area and vines, Phinney built a winery in 2009, followed by a home for him and his family.
The area is known for its intense heat and minimal amounts of vegetation. Planted over 60 years ago, vines are grown in soil mostly of black schist, along with small amounts of granite and limestone. “The intense heat from the daytime sun is reflected back to the gnarled, head trained vines at night, increasing ripeness while maintaining acidity. The result is a very low yield (half ton per acre), but makes for a dark, concentrated, and finesse driven wine that embodies this singular region.”
The inspiration for the brand name ‘Dept 66’ is derived from the administrative department that covers the southwest corner of France that the estate is located in [Department 66].
Philosophy: “I am so lucky to have been introduced to this amazing area and so proud to share its wines with you.”
Winemaking: Aged for 18 months in French oak, 30% new. Aged in the bottle 5 months prior to release.
Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of toasted oak, dark fruit, raisin and peppery spice. Concentrated black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, vanilla and licorice flavours swell over an oak core. Silky tannins, dark fruit, coffee, black pepper toasted oak and a dusting of dark chocolate comprise the lengthy, velvety finish. Rich and lush, not for the faint of heart [oak wise, alcohol wise, concentrated fruit wise].
Grenache, Syrah and Carignon [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
IGP Cotes Catalanes
Produced and Bottled by Dept. 66
Enjoy now thru 2021
Rated 93 points by Wine Advocate