Côtes Catalanes means Catalan hills, and it’s a suitable name. The region covers most of the French Department Pyrénées-Orientales, just a stone-throw away from the Spanish autonomous region of Catalunya, right across the Pyrenees Mountain Range. This is the southernmost region in mainland France, and it’s blessed by both the warm Mediterranean Coast and the mountainous fresh air inland.
Côtes Catalanes is an Indication Geographique Protegee or IGP, a quality designation for affordable and varied wines just below the country’s prestigious but stricter AOPs. Under this banner, winemakers have the freedom to explore diverse styles and experiment with wine grapes not ordinarily seen in Southern France. Here, innovation meets tradition. Some of the most traditional wine styles in France are labelled Côtes Catalanes, and we can say the same about modern, fruit-forward expressions of the land.
The Côtes Catalanes is one of the most important IGPs in Languedoc-Roussillon, and there’s no lack of talent in the region. Many wineries are family owned and have cultivated the area for generations. There’s no doubt Côtes Catalanes is the source of authentic gems, wine for everyday enjoyment of the highest quality. And with the IGP’s affordable prices, it’s easy to see why wine lovers around the world source some of their best-valued wine from the area.
The INAO supervises the production rules in the Côtes Catalanes IGP, and guarantees the wine is of the highest capacity. Unlike the stricter regulations in the country’s AOPs, the IGP level offers lots of room for producers to experiment and innovate.
Côtes Catalanes allows for red, white and rosé wine made with a wide variety of wine grapes. The classic ‘rancio’ style is also allowed. These oxidative wines are evocative of the region’s most ancient winemaking traditions and must have at least 14% Alcohol by Volume and 12 gr of sugar per litre. They must also display 'goût de rancio’, meaning the wine is rancid and oxidized but not ruined.
On the other side of the spectrum, producers in the Côtes Catalanes can make primeur or nouveau wine — fresh wine vinified and bottled in the same year of the harvest. These are fantastic fruit-forward wines to enjoy while still young.
Most of the IGP’s wine, though, is not rancio or nouveau, but still wine and of excellent quality. Reds are bold, and whites are invigorating, evocative of the Mediterranean coast. Always fruit-forward and nuanced, Côtes Catalanes wine is the ideal partner for the southern region’s hearty cuisine.
Grape Varieties and Blends
As a large area under IGP rules, there are few restrictions regarding the grapes winemakers use to craft their wine. There are, though, varietals considered superior and are known as Traditional Mediterranean Varieties.
The red varieties include Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Côtes Catalanes extends long towards the sud-oest, so producers also consider Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon amongst the preferred wine grapes for red and rosé production.
Local white grapes reserved for white wine production include Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Tourbat and a range of Muscats — Muscat à petits grains, Muscat d’Alexandrie and Muscat de Hambourg.
Along with the region’s primary wine grapes, winemakers in the Côtes Catalanes have over 50 other varieties at their disposal, including Cinsault, Carignan, Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne, Piquepoul and many others.
Producers must prepare the Traditional Rancio wine style with one of the local grapes: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Macabeu, Tourbat, Mourvèdre and Muscat.
Buy Côtes Catalanes Wines from Hourlier Wines
The French IGP category is dotted with high-quality producers delivering premium wine at affordable prices. Creating bonds with these small-batch, family-owned producers allows us to offer our valued customers distinctive wine from these exemplary regions.
Amongst the extraordinary producers elevating the name of the Côtes Catalanes region, you’ll find Domaine Boudau. Siblings Véro and Pierre Boudau lead the family estate, making wine in the area since 1922. With an impressive range of red, white and rosé, Boudau is a fantastic ambassador for the superb Côtes Catalanes wine.
Not your ordinary Muscat, Domaine Boudau makes this dry, Mediterranean wine with 50% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, 50% Muscat of Alexandria, and offers ripe fruit aromas with floral and peachy undertones. The palate shows lemony notes and a generous alcoholic warmth beautifully balanced by acidity. Delicious with fruit salads and fresh goat cheese.
A pretty rosé made with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Grenache Noir, 35% Syrah. The Boudau’s macerate the grapes for seven days to deliver a cherry-scented, exhilarating wine with pleasant saline minerality. Perfect with roasted poultry and berry sauces.
A young and lively red made with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 65% Grenache Noir, 20% Syrah. Expect fruit purity in the nose and palate and a pleasant juicy mouthfeel. Enjoy within the first two years and pair with lean red meat and grilled white meat.
White fruit and citrus dominate this equal-part Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria offering a palate blessed with a robust alcoholic warmth and a refreshing aftertaste. Muscat’s unique fruitiness pairs nicely with white meat and seafood.
Where does Côtes Catalanes wine originate?
Côtes Catalanes covers the French Department Pyrénées-Orientales in Languedoc-Roussillon where the Mediterranean influence ripens the grapes to perfection.
What does Côtes Catalanes wine taste like?
Red wine in Côtes Catalanes is fruit-forward and generous with layered bouquets and bold palates. White wine is fresh and light bodied. Rosé is fruity and easy to drink.
Which food groups pair well with Côtes Catalanes wine?
Côtes Catalanes wine is ideal for pairing with Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine. The red wine pairs with tapas, including dry-cured meat and sausages. White wine pairs well with white fish, sardines, olives and baby eels. Rosé is terrific on its own but pairs with salads, fresh cheese, seafood and shellfish.