Cornet et Cie is part of Le Cave de l’Abbe Rous, which produces wines from Banyuls and Collioure AOC. The original Abby Rous started, as the story goes, selling the wine for mass to generate more funds for the church in the region. Now the Cave works with more than 750 growers and is an economic co-operative in the sense that, unlike normal co-ops where the wine is made by mixing everyone’s juice together, here the grape growers – spread over an area of 1,750 hectares – adhere to strict guidelines to assure the quality of the grapes for their wines that are produced from specific estates.
Cornet et Cie was set up only in 2004. It was originally Mas Cornet, which has existed since the turn of the last century but the name changed since it kept running out of wine. In an effort to increase the wine available for purchase, the co-op had to go outside the limit for Mas Cornet. In doing so, it no longer used just the grapes from the single Mas, but from a larger group of growers, all from the same valley – and all friends. They chose the ‘Cie’ because it was just that – a group of companions working together to make the grapes that go into Cornet et Cie Banyuls and Collioure.
Situated just before the border with Spain on the Mediterranean side, Cornet et Cie uses traditional methods with modern equipment, including an on-site laboratory. The co-op also boasts the only solar refrigeration system, according to the company’s Vladimir Algin, and works hard to reduce its CO2 footprint in the region by recycling just about everything. As Vladimir says, ‘It’s a small region so we have to take care of it.’
Banyuls, along with Banyuls Grand Cru, are the appellations for France’s finest vin doux naturels (VDN) - strong sweet wines made by artificially arresting the conversion of grape sugar to alcohol through the addition of spirit before fermentation is complete. The climate here is hot and dry and only tempered by the Tramontane wind, which helps to protect the vines from the burning sun.
Wines that are sweet and can accompany a desert
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