Maury Sec. A new appellation.

An old man is being interviewed. He is asked where he was born.

“St. Petersburg.”

And where did he grow up?

“Petrograd.”

Where does he live now?

“Leningrad.”

Where would he prefer to be buried when he dies?

With a wistful sigh, he answers, “St. Petersburg.”

Same man, same city, different names.

Why do I tell this joke in a preamble about the new Appellation of ‘Maury Sec’?

Maury used to be famous for making a port-style fortified red called Maury, Vin Doux Naturel (VDN). So the name Maury couldn’t be used for other wines.

So wines from the village went out under ‘Cotes du Roussillon Villages’, if they respected the rather strict appellation rules about which grapes were allowed, or under ‘Vin de Pays Cotes Catalanes’ if they wanted to use a freer set of rules.

When we first arrived in the valley, we bought three blocks, all around the beautiful village of Maury.

We could have made a Maury VDN.

But was wanted to make a dry table wine, and our winemaking friend Richard (in whose cellar we worked) didn’t like following the appellation rules, so out first few wines were labelled ‘Vin de Pays de Cotes Catalanes’

When we moved to work with Frenchman Jean-Marc Lafage at Chateau St Roch, we switched the classification of the wine (from exactly the same vineyards) to ‘Cotes du Roussillon Villages’.

And from 2019 we have registered our vines as Maury Sec, so that we’d have the right to use the rather more specific and helpful appellation, which homes right in on the most premium part of the Roussillon (Maury is a ‘Cru’ – the highest rank of classification, along with the little fishing village of ‘Collioure’, near the Spanish border).

So the same blocks of vines have moved through three different names (so far!), but the wine is essentially the same. We hope it tastes just as good as normal.

And maybe even better?

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