l’Abbé Rous produces a range of Collioure and Banyuls wines exclusively for the domestic market in France. Abbé Rous pays homage to François Rous, who in the late 19th century became abbot and championed the reputation and trade of Banyuls in order to finance construction of a church for the village. Abbé Rous now incorporates 750 small vignerons farming 1150 hectares of steep, terraced vineyards within view of the Mediterranean. Viticulture is lutte raisonée, and the schist-dominated vineyards—crossed with century-old canals (“les agulles”) to combat erosion—are always worked by hand. Under cellarmaster Jauffrey Canier, Abbé Rous maintains the region’s traditional elevage for its oxidative wines, aging them outdoors in demi-muids for up to four years before returning them to the cellars to complete their evolution. In keeping with that approach, Abbé Rous also maintains the tradition of Rancio sec, the great historic wine of the region that predates Banyuls by centuries. Matifoc Rancio sec is the only wine they export.
A wine of ancient tradition, La Cave de l’Abbe Rous Matifoc Rancio Sec is produced from old-vine Grenache noir and is aged outdoors in old 600-liter Banyuls demi-muids for up to four years before returning to the cellars for continued oxidative aging. The resulting wine is a blend, with an average age of 10-12 years in partially-filled barrels, resulting in its inimitable rancio character.
The boldest of the Côte Vermeille Rancio secs, ‘Matifoc’ is Catalan slang for ‘put out the fire,’ referring to the old Catalan tradition of workers mixing Rancio and water to slake their thirst in the fields and vineyards. It can be enjoyed with tapas, anchovies and a variety of cheeses; in cocktails; or as a dry digestif. Shelf-stable, it should be served lightly chilled or at cellar temperature.