La Colline aux Fossiles, or Hill of Fossils, is a balanced and vibrant Chardonnay (100%) grown on the gentle slopes of the Tet river valley in the Roussillon. Walking through these vines you can find ancient fossils among the gravel washed down from the nearby mountains.
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The Roussillon has a little bit of everything and a lot of history. There are limestone mountains to the north along the border with Corbières and granite peaks to the south, where it shares a border with Spain. In between are several distinct terroirs: red schist in Asprès, a potpourri of igneous and metamorphic soils in Fenouillade, black schist and limestone in Maury, and three rivers that have formed a broad alluvial, coastal plain. The terroirs and microclimates of the Roussillon make it a veritable playground for experimentation and discovery – even with something as common seeming as Chardonnay.
The name Colline aux Fossiles may seem fanciful, but there are actually old, weathered fossils mixed in this site’s gravelly soils. They should have realized that they were standing on a Chardonnay terroir when they first saw these fossils. It just took them a little time to find the best way to showcase it.
A small category representing the wines that either fall outside of appellation lines or don’t subscribe to the law and traditions set forth by the French government within certain classified appellations, “Vin De France” is a catch-all that includes some of the most basic French wines as well as those of superior quality. The category includes large production, value-driven wines. It also includes some that were made with a great deal of creativity, diligence and talent by those who desire to make wine outside of governmental restrictions. These used to be called Vin de Table (table wine) but were renamed to compete with other European countries' wines of similar quality.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.