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Nuit des vins primeurs – Perpignan, 2017

19th October 2017

Nuit des vins primeurs à Perpignan

Fete des vins primeursOn Thursday 19th October from 18h, caves, bars and wine domaines all over the region will offer entertainment and tasting of the new 2017 vintage.

Whilst this evening gives ‘cavistes’ the chance to tout their new wines (les vins primeurs), fresh from the vines into your glass, there is of course nothing to stop you spending any day tasting this PO equivalent to the Beaujolais Nouveau around the many caves and dégustations in Perpignan!

Les Vins Primeurs are available  three weeks earlier than the much more talked of Beaujolais Nouveau, due to the sunnier climes of the PO.

Cavistes, bars and restaurants of Perpignan accompany the wine makers in celebrating the arrival of the Vin Primeur by proposing wine tasting and live music. The usual procession of brass bands in regional dress thump out Catalan tunes and the whole evening has a carnival atmosphere.

Many local caves offer an evening of jollity and degustation often accompanied by a traditional Catalan Castanyade (roast chestnuts!!!)

Whilst there is no real pressure to buy, most bottles tend to be between 3 and 5 €, so it’s rather easy to get carried away! Some might feel that it would be rude not to! 

Our recommendation? Take at least one sturdy bag and a designated driver.

And the celebration continues on Saturday 21st October…


10.15am : Musical parade through the pedestrian areas of the town centre

11am : Blessing of the vin nouveau at the Cathédrale Saint Jean Baptiste

11.45am-12.30pm : Wine tasting on the Patio of Restaurant le Saint Jean

vin prim

Vins primeurs are the first of the harvest, released on the third Thursday in October. They are usually bright red or violet, fruity, with a taste of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, freshly squeezed grapes, depending on grape variety, the production method, and the area in which the grapes are grown. Normally, a very light, easy to drink wine (which, by tradition, needs drinking before Christmas).

Jonathan Healey tells us a little more about ’les vins primeurs’

Vins primeurs arrive in shops with all the ballyhoo of the unveiling of a new car at a motor show. Except winemakers aren’t launching new cars – they’re launching prototypes. Prototypes are fun. The winemakers play with traditions and find innovative ways to renew them, like trendy labels and lurid cork and cap seal combinations.

We don’t care that vins primeurs have not even been road-tested, or that they don’t need to pass the appellation’s Contrôle Technique. They rev out of the pits, some still fermenting in their tanks. They may handle unpredictably. Too much acidity and they over steer, giving your tongue whiplash. Too little acidity and they under steer, sloshing across the palate. Well-balanced examples handle just right, gripping the curves around your tongue for a couple of fruity laps in slick racing tyres.

But vins primeurs will never be ‘vintage’ like a 1958 Ferrari Testa Rosa. They don’t have tread for the long haul. They are one-offs that aren’t built to last or to go into mass production. Wine heritage will not be diminished as you pile up empty bottles. Vins primeurs are peppy prototypes meant to be fun and frivolous. They are not meant to have leather upholstery and cigar box aromas. They are boy racers for day trippers. They cheerfully get you where you want to go.

Tasting Tips

It’s difficult to judge a vin primeur by looking at the wine through its bottle, so look at the label and cap-seal instead. Look for the words ‘vigneron indépendant’ (independent winemaker).

Independent winemakers make vins primeurs to attract your attention, build customer loyalty, and get some quick cash flowing from the vintage. Of course, cooperatives do the same, but not always with the same passion. You’ll be paying € 4-something, not € 3-something, for a Primeur from an independent, but go the extra Euro. Look for a mention of grape variety, too. If you like Merlot, buy a Merlot Primeur.

In your glass the colour should be clear and sustained all the way to the rim, not watery. It should have a simple, fruity appeal on the nose. When it’s in your mouth, feel for flavour, body, balance, and length. But remember, these are easy-drinking, uncomplicated wines, they shouldn’t have you reaching for your thesaurus, or doing a Jilly Goolden!



19th October 2017
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