Domaine Pouderoux is a 20-hectare estate tucked away in the dramatic landscape of the Agly Valley, one of the southernmost pockets of the Roussillon, and one of the hottest and driest regions in France. Although the cellar is located right at the heart of Maury village, the vineyards spread over a few appellations, such as Côtes du Roussillon, Côtes Catalanes, and Maury.

The domaine was created in 1826 and in the early 1900s, Paul Pouderoux took over the reins of the estate. Paul was a true pioneer and a tireless defender of the legislation for the Maury appellation, which at the time was exclusively producing sweet fortified wines, known as Vins Doux Naturels, the equivalent of Port. Today Maury still produces Vin Doux Naturels, but many of the vignerons are turning their attention to non-fortified wines.

Paul’s grandson, Robert Pouderoux, left the village of Maury where he grew up to study law, which was followed by a career in the city. He returned in the early 1980s to run the family estate, at a time when the Roussillon was timidly beginning the inception of its quality wine production.

Close to nature, Robert and his wife Cathy, also a native of the region, have always worked, showing great respect for their soils, their vines, and biodiversity, and they have persistently farmed organically. In this rugged part of France, their vines, some aged more than a century, are planted at several different altitudes, including a vineyard perched at 300 meters. The tasks are therefore predominantly conducted by hand and the harvest is entirely manual.

The wines are then aged in the air-conditioned cellar adjacent to the original family home. Stylistically, they range from dry to sweet, and the winemaking techniques, although different for each type of wine, are meticulously undertaken, keeping in mind the ancient traditions of making Vin Doux Naturel.

The Pouderoux produce wines from Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, as well as Grenache Blanc, and Muscat. The reds are full-bodied, lush and complex, yet refined and genuinely enchanting.

The Maury, or Vins Doux Naturels, are exclusively produced with Grenache from very old vines. These wines are sweet, and like Port, fortified through the addition of alcohol during the winemaking process.

For the cuvée ‘Vendanges’ Maury, the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks and bottled in the Spring, so as to preserve the vividly cherryish style. 

As for the Reserve and the Hors d’Age, they are oxidised wines. In the traditional way, they mature outdoors in large glass demijohn bottles for a year, exposed to the harshness of the climate, before extra maturing time in very large casks. These wines are complex and elegant and boast a Port-like persistence, and they can last an eternity in the cellar.

Profile © Françoise and Seán Gilley

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