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New vintage heralds new look Trillol wines

Château Trillol, the Sichel family’s Languedoc property, has been given a new look for its latest vintage, 2011. The flowing line drawing on the new label now clearly shows Trillol’s stunning setting, beneath the Cathar château, Quéribus, high in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The much pared-down label gives prominence to the name of the wine, location, the Sichel family and the varietal blend. “But above all we want to convey its quality and the fact it’s such a pleasure to drink,” says Charles Sichel.”

“Since 1990, when my father bought Trillol,” he says, “there has been a massive amount of hard work to get the maximum out of this amazing but quite unforgiving terroir. Over the last eight years it has all begun to pay off. It was high time the look of the bottle reflected the quality and sheer enjoyment Trillol offers.

“We want consumers to know that it’s a serious but easy-going wine that offers excellent value for money. Also, a lot of people from the UK know and love this part of the Languedoc, just as our family does, so we really wanted to convey this sense of place."

Château Trillol is located in the Corbières hills outside the hilltop village of Cucugnan. Its 40 hectares span the two designated terroirs of Termenès and Quéribus – although these are not mentioned on the label, as Sichel says it feels French labels can be overloaded with information and confusing for consumers. “We may revisit this in the future,” says Charles Sichel.

The altitude of the vines (1,312ft and 656ft) and the very low yields (just below 33hl/ha) mean that the grapes ripen slowly, giving them time to develop the rich fruit favours and  peppery aromas of the neighbouring garrigue scrubland. Henri Guiot and Ben Sichel, who is also in charge of winemaking at the family’s Margaux property, are responsible for viticulture and winemaking at Trillol, which, says Sichel, “is aimed at making a wine that offers immediate pleasure ‘with attitude’”.

“The challenge down here has been enormous,” he says, “because we wanted to produce a wine with authenticity, approachability and, one that stood out from the crowd.”

In practical terms this has meant totally abandoning traditional goblet training in favour of double-guyot to optimise canopy management and get maximum ripeness. Sichel has also doubled up the number of vines per hectare. “It was a quality decision and a commercial one because we need to regulate yields here and keep them at a viable level,” he explains. 

Trillol’s average production of red wine is 75,000 bottles and 6,000 bottles of white.  Sales have grown in the past eight years, with the UK along with Asia being its main export markets.

The wine is available in the UK in the independent off- and on-trade sectors, at an RSP of £11.99 - £12.99.

3 March 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor