Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition panel tasting of Corbières (see blue link below).
Chateaux Ollieux Romanis, Atal Sia, Corbieres-Boutenac 2016 - April 2020 Decanter review
Located in Boutenac, just south of the village of Corbières in the Languedoc region, Ollieux Romanis is now one of the largest privately owned wineries in Corbières, spanning some 130 hectares. First planted to vine in the 11th century AD, Ollieux Romanis actually came into existence as a farm producing grains, olives, and mutton in Roman times, some eight centuries earlier. It was the Durban-Latreille family who saw its potential and began planting it to vine. Soon, a priory was formed and the domaine flourished, as tending to the vine was part of the monks’ daily religious ritual, for production of the holy sacrament.
Through the Middle Ages Les Ollieux became part of the Abbey of Fontfroide and then subsequently changed hands many times. Today it is owned and maintained by the Bories family, who settled at Les Ollieux some 200 years ago. Pierre Bories is assisted by winemaker Jean-Pierre Amiques. There are some very interesting and unusual terroirs featured at the domaine, including Mediterranean red clay, sandstone, and puddingstone. Along with the requisite Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne, the Bories also cultivate Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Merlot, and Mourvèdre, the ‘unapproved’ varietals going into their fun entry-level VdP label Capucines.
Les Ollieux is currently working its way to fully organic status having dispensed with herbicides and pesticides in the late 1990s. Instead, Pierre composts with marc, or the leftover solids (sins, seeds, pulps, pits) of his grapes and olives after pressing. 80% of the harvest is done manually (rare for such a large estate) – all grapes for Atal Sia (their high end cuvee) and Corbieres Classique red and white harvested manually.
Atal Sia translates to “let it be” in the local Languedocien dialect and is the perfect expression for this wine, which beautifully translates the authenticity of the terroir in Boutenac.
The grapes for the Atal Sia are grown on the pudding stone (over sandstone) terroir of Boutenac. This is a lush confection of Carignan 40%, Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 20% and a dollop (5%) of Syrah for spice. No oak here, yet this is still a deep and intense wine with black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice and a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.
The grapes for this wine are harvested manually before undergoing whole cluster maceration. Once the winemaking process is complete, the wine spends a year maturing in the bottle before being released for sale.
This has had no oak influence, yet is still a deep and intense wine with characteristics of black fruits, orange peel, spice and liquorice, as well as a smooth, silky, almost sweet palate.
ABV = 14.5%.