Jean-Hubert presses the grapes and ferments the wine dry, gives it eight months élevage on the fine lees in cement, before transfer to 100yo 600ltr demi-muids for ten years barrel ageing, not topped up and with no voile. Like a dry Amontillado or Sercial Madeira, it’s typically served at around 13C as an apéritif or alongside seafood, like the Côte Vermeille’s famous anchovies, and it’s brilliant with manchego and blue cheese too. If you like rich dry sherries then you will absolutely love this. Incredible.
Notes on the Producer
Jean-Hubert and Brigitte specialize in producing oxidative wines and prefer to pick late harvested maccabeu in the autumn to make three cuvées of Rancio Sec. The rules for the Rancio Sec AC are fairly loose, stipulating the different grapes that can be used, a minimum ageing period of five years (doubled by the Verdaguer!), and that the wine must be dry with no added alcohol. Beyond that, most decisions are left in the hands of the producer, which leads to a fascinating diversity of production methods and expressions. Despite the appellation’s young age (2011), making that particular style of wine is a centuries-old tradition. Only tiny quantities have been produced in this Catalan corner of France and the wines have traditionally been drunk by family and friends. But the recent uptick in interest in Roussillon’s natural wines has helped bring attention to the category and the appellation was created. The production of Rancio Sec is non-interventional, you don’t need to sulphur up your barrels, top up to prevent oxygenation, or add anything at the end of a long élevage that naturally stabilises the wine.