Rié and Hirofumi Shoji met whilst studying in Burgundy, where the couple spent years working with some of the region’s most interesting producers, including our own Frederic Cossard of Domaine de Chassorney. After several visits to the region, the two were lucky enough to find a remarkable vineyard high in the hills above the seaside town of Collioure. In Catalan, Pedres Blanques means ‘white rocks’ and the vineyard takes its name from an outcrop of granite which sits amongst the three and a half hectares of vines.
There is a palpable energy in this breathtakingly beautiful, remote place, where vines as old as fifty years grow wild over a complex mix of granite and schist. At some 350 metres above sea level, this is one of the highest sites in the region and the elevation, along with stiff winds from the Mediterranean, lends great freshness to their wines.
Nearly all of the vines are Grenache Noir, though recently Hirofumi and Rié have planted massale cuttings of various local varieties, given to them by the legendary Alain Castex. The Shojis work the vines organically and due to the landscape and lack of topsoil, nearly everything is done by hand. The ventilation and lack of rainfall allow them to eschew the use of copper completely, sulphur is used sparingly, if at all.
In the cellar their aim is simply to reveal the potential of this terroir. Grapes ferment with wild yeasts with no temperature control and the use of gravity throughout fermentation and élevage means that not even a pump is used at any stage. The wines are bottled unfiltered with no additions and the intelligent use of these age-old practices renders soulful wines of great balance, vibrancy and finesse.