Rié & Hirofumi Shoji

Collioure, Roussillon

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 a long stint working alongside Frédéric Cossard.

After several visits to the region, the two were lucky enough to find a 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 that sits amongst the three and a half hectares of vines.

There is a palpable energy to be found in this 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, though recently Hirofumi and Rié have planted massale cuttings of various local varieties, given to them by the late Alain Castex, a dear friend. After his passing, Rié and Hirofumi now look after his old vineyards in Trouillas, a little south of Perpignan. The Shojis work the vines organically and nearly everything is done by hand. They prefer to eschew the use of copper completely and 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 rare balance, purity and finesse.