Laetitia Piétri makes great Collioure and Banyuls wines in her incredibly small and cramped cellar in the middle of the delightful and bustling town of Collioure. Harvest time must be a bit of a nightmare for this town-centre winery, with the narrow, hilly streets still thronged with tourists – and the vineyards high up in the hills above the town.
This is the southern-most wine region in Roussillon (with the Spanish border just a few kilometres away) and the vineyards are set in stunning scenery, at the point where the Pyrenées tumble into the Mediterranean. Everywhere you look, vines are planted into the hillsides, up to an altitude of several hundred metres. The terroir is a mix of the soil and the sea, with the maritime influence very definitely making its mark on the wines.
Laetitia is the fifth generation of her family to tend their 30 hectares of Collioure and Banyuls, alongside her still active mother Maguy. Their vineyards are on steep terraces, dotted around the hills of Collioure, Banyuls and Port Vendres where slate soils support very old Grenache and Carignan, with more recent plantings of Syrah and Mourvèdre.
A selection of dry red and white wines are made, along with several different cuvees of sweet Banyuls. Both the “standard” red and white Collioures have recently won gold medals at the Paris Wine Show. Piétri-Géraud is definitely another name to watch in this region.
Incidentally, if Laetita's name or face seems familiar, it might be because you saw her (and her delicious Banyuls wines) featured in episode 5 of Rick Stein's Secret France television series.