If you’ve watched Rick Stein’s series Hidden France you’ve met Laetitia; she took him into her Collioure cellar to taste Banyuls before a grillade in her cabotte (hut) in her virtually vertical, terraced Collioure vineyards overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea.
But it’s her oak-aged dry white wine that is so extraordinary… she even more so. An artist, with a motor that never stops.
Her terraced vineyards are the steepest in France. The soil is rock, the climate arid and the rendement per hectare a fraction that of vineyards on the flat land nearby.
She’s the only winemaker to have a winery – an impeccable one – in the narrow streets of Collioure. How does she get her grapes through those tourist jammed passages in August? As I said, she is an unstoppable force!
Her grandfather and father were the village doctors who made wine as a hobby but Laetitia is no hobbyist. Her wine looks expensive for the Midi, but considering its richness and what it costs to make, it’s cheap. Machines cannot work her slopes; cultivation and maintenance of miles of stone walls is all manual.
A bottle of her L’Écume turned up at a big celebration tasting we did at work for the end of lockdown and 50 or so of the wine nuts here picked her dense, crisp, dry white as clear winner. An oak-aged, white that manages somehow to keep its crisp minerality.
Just try a bottle then go and see her … out of high season. The most beautiful vineyards in France – that overlook a village that, unsurprisingly, attracted more great artists than any other – and she likes the British.