Saturday, July 18, 2020


This month in July the French #winophiles are exploring the white wines of Roussillon. Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest is hosting us; do read her very informative primer on all things white wine and Roussillon at the link above.
Before Languedoc-Roussillon, there was Languedoc and there was Roussillon in Sud-Ouest - southwest - France, and then they merged with the larger Occitanie administrative region in 2016. As is the case with every ancient land, a few kilometres travelled make you feel like you're in another country! It's no different in France... for example, in the wine world Languedoc-Roussillon are lumped together implying that they are similar. In reality, they're two distinct regions - culturally, culinarily, linguistically, geologically, and even in wine styles. While wines from the Languedoc are fairly easy to find, those from Roussillon can be challenging to find. But they are delightful and worth seeking out if you like food-friendly wines with minerality, salinity, floral notes, and a rich mouthfeel.

We decided to pair our wine selection with Northern Thai food from one of our favourite Bay Area restaurants, Monkey Thai.


Clos de l'Origine is a small 10 hectare (~25 acres) domaine focused on organic farming with biodynamic practices since its creation in 2004, and now agriculture biologique (AB) certified since 2009. The winery has chosen to remain in the Vin de France classification to allow greater creative freedom. Winery operations are in a rather unassuming facility (see my Google Maps screenshot to the right) in Maury, Pyrénées Orientales (formerly Roussillon). The grapes are grown in several different terroirs throughout the region, ranging from 15 m to 400 m above sea level. According to vignerons and owners Marc and Caroline Barriot, the wines are made with the idea of vinifying "as close as possible to the expression of the terroir".

It is truly a labour of love - the soil is worked mostly by hand, harvests are 100% by hand, and the other work like weeding, tying the vines, etc. is also done manually. At the winery vinification is done with indigenous yeasts of each terroir, with no added yeasts or enzymes. As Marc Barriot says, "Our goal is not to obtain perfect and boring wines. Our choice is based on vinification with little sulfur, depending on the vintage, so as to respect the integrity of the grapes to obtain finesse and purity of the fruit, giving free rein to nature as to the tastes of our wines." 

100% Muscat Alexandria (muscat)
Price: $25, ABV: 12%

Vinification: direct pressed whole bunch Muscat grapes (no destemming), indigenous yeasts, skin contact with Muscat and Syrah for 3 weeks, no fining or filtration

Soil: clay, limestone, shale, 15 m above sea level

Colour: cloudy, yellow with a lashing of orange

Nose + Palate: Dried white flowers, juicy fruit, saline minerality, astringent but balanced, with just the right kind of medium length finish.

Pairing: We had this with northern Thai food which is savoury, not intensely spicy, features banana leaves used to wrap meats, uses sticky rice rather than Jasmine rice, and has a discernible absence of coconut milk. Quite different from the richly spiced, coconut milk "curries" sweetened with palm sugar that are ubiquitous in southern Thai cuisine and Thai restaurants outside Thailand. Northern Thai cuisine is fragrant and savoury, with layers of flavours, and brought out the best in Le Trouble Fait, an equally savoury wine with a rich mouthfeel to match the food.

Want to know more? Read below to find out what the other #winophiles are saying about their wine choices and food pairings! And do join us on Twitter to chat about the white wines of Roussillon with the hashtag #winophiles on 18 July at 8 AM PST.


  1. Oh, my goodness, Payal. That meal looks amazing! Now I'm inspired to make a Northern Thai feast. Wow.

  2. What an interesting wine and pairing. I will admit to not being familiar with Northern Thai food and I am grateful for you bringing it to my attention. Something new to explore.
    This wine sounds so interesting. Your description with dried white flowers has my interest peaked.

  3. I always forget how nicely Asian food pairs with a sweeter wine. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. We both picked up flower aromas! I'm captivated by your discussion of Thai cuisine. Absolutely love it but haven't been to a restaurant that distinguishes it from north to south. I see markers I prefer in the northern cuisine. As there are barely a handful of Thai restaurants where I'm living, I'll be looking for a book / online sources.

  5. That sounds like such a captivating wine and I'm so interested to know more about the winemaking --skin contact with the Muscat and Syrah skins? My curiosity has definitely been peaked and might need to search this out!

  6. What a cool wine, I love small bio producers. I was not aware of the northern Thai differences, now I need to find some northern Thai in Minnesota!

  7. Yum! Muscat and Thai food is a match made in heaven!

  8. Thanks for pointing out the differences between northern and southern Thai food. I had no idea! Muscat is generally not my preferred varietal, but sounds perfect with this savory meal.

  9. When I read your title, I knew the pairing would be excellent; I sure wasn't disappointed. Those Thai dishes sound perfect with the Muscat!

  10. Thank you for sharing the story of the winery and your tasting notes. I need to consider more Thai dishes with Muscan - thank you for this!