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A Working Holiday
Chapter 1: We Leave for France
Chapter 10: Looking for Mr. Goodstone
Chapter 11: A mission to la Clape
Chapter 12: Dinner at Château de Lignan
Chapter 13: Antiques and plunder
Chapter 14: The vintner next door
Chapter 15: The rooftops of Nézignan-l'Évêque
Chapter 2: Comes the crusade
Chapter 3: The 13 colonies
Chapter 4: Our curtains are dreadful
Chapter 5: Naked beaches
Chapter 6: A visit to Château des Estanilles
Chapter 7: A pilgrimage to Toulouse
Chapter 8: Remembering Collioure
Chapter 9: The priest and the mayor
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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Collioure and the wines of Terrassous
Your destination is the picture-postcard-perfect (and chic) seaside village of Collioure.Collioure enjoys a dramatic setting, its fortified harbor nestled at the base of baked scrubby hills, exactly where the Pyrenees mountains spread their toes in the Mediterranean. The culture here is Catalan, more Spanish than French; the restaurants favor food like tapas. Collioure is famous for two treats: Banyuls, the exquisite local "vin doux naturel" (sweet wine); and anchovies. The two make perfect companions. On the way back from Collioure, we visited the cloisters at Elne (a Michelin two-star attraction). There's a glass-blowing salon behind Elne's tourism bureau that has astonishing work for sale, incidentally. But the sweetest surprise was the town of Terrats, near Thuir.Terrats was a lucky accident. On page 165 of Mitchell Beazley's book, The Wines & Winemakers of Languedoc Roussillon, there's a distinctive photo of a strange outdoor, gravity-fed winery. The caption says it's Trouillas. In fact, it's Terrassous, the winery of Terrats. We recognized the photo instantly and hit the brakes.

I've heard many people disdain sweet wines. I assume they've never had really good ones like Banyuls, Maury or Rivesaltes. The Terrassous wines are complex: both sweet and dry. They are NOT syrupy or sugary. And (here's a plus) they age forever. At Terrassous, they were selling a Rivesaltes made in 1974 for a very affordable price. Other vintners sell sweet wines that date back to the early 20th century.

The Terrassous tasting room is handsome, the reception friendly and enthusiastic. We tried four different wines (all lovely) and settled on a flowery Rivesaltes Ambré (Le Parfum de Terrassous) and a three-bottle gift case of Grande Réserve Rivesaltes (one bottle each: aged 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years). The Terrassous tasting room is open every day but Sunday, 9 AM to noon, 2-6 PM.Phone: 04 68 53 02 50.

Time to Collioure: 1 hour 30 minutes

Directions: Take the A9 south toward Barcelona. Take exit 43 and head east toward the coast (Le Boulou, Argeles-Sur-Mer, Collioure). If you overshoot this exit (as we did), you will enter Spain in a few minutes. Take your first exit and double back. Follow the D618 to the N114. Watch for signs for Collioure.To get to Elne, follow the N114. From Elne to Terrats, take the D612 toward Thuir, and watch for signs.
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