Le Soula wine estate in the foothills of the Pyrenees brings a touch of cool climate character to a region associated mainly with summer heat and abundant sunshine. Mark Walford, an English wine importer and partner in the venture with Gerard Gauby, who discovered the site in the late 1990s, highlighted both the climatic and old vine characteristics of the wine at a recent tasting in London. Average vine age on the site is almost 40 years, while some date back as far as 1919.
The 2011 vintage of Le Soula Rouge is 60% Carignan, 35% Syrah and 5% Grenache while the 2010 has 71% Carignan with proportionately less Syrah and the 2007 is 41% Syrah, 40% Carignan and 13% Grenache Noir with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon also in the mix.
The estate, which is planted at an altitude of between 350 and 600 meteres and extends over 53 hectares, 22 of which are under vine, also produces white wines from several varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Vermentino, Marsanne, Roussanne, Malvoisie du Roussillon, Chardonnay and Macabeu. The result is multi-layered and intriguing.
Total production at the estate is around 4,000 cases a year, and alongside Gauby and Walford are two other partners, importer Roy Richards and Gerald Standley, who runs the vineyard.