Domaine Boucabeille grow their vines on the severe schist slopes of the Força Réal hill just outside Perpignan, one of the oldest inhabited areas of France. This area has a long and illustrious winemaking history, but was abandoned in the early 20th Century as it was deemed too hard to work. Jean Boucabeille and his son Régis are not afraid of a bit of hard graft though. They farm organically so as not to disrupt the microbial life, biodiversity and their 100 beehives; they’ve planted 650 new cork oak trees to help stopper their bottles, and everything in the vineyard is done gently by hand.
Up and down the range, the wines speak clearly of the Roussillon, with generous schist- and garrigue-infused dark fruit characters and exceedingly suave tannic structures. Alcohol levels are modest for the region and almost inconspicuous in the finished wines – and the general sense of freshness that pervades the range means that you find yourself returning to these most characterful wines over and over again. For a weeknight glass of something extremely satisfying, the Regis punches way above its weight, whilst the Monte Nero offers silk textured dark fruits on very fine slate minerality. Their top wine, in both white and red, is Les Orris, a wine that deserves cellaring but could be approached today if a decanter was employed. There is grace and poise in these wines, some of the Roussillon’s finest.