We last visited this wine with its 2007 vintage, but first a word on Banyuls. What is Banyuls? This is France’s version of Port, lightly fortified wines with alcohol added to stop fermentation while sugar is still in the system, leaving the wines sweet. Banyuls is less alcoholic than Port (this bottle is at 16% abv) and lighter in body, probably in part due to the use of Grenache grapes as the primary component.
By the way, Banyuls (pronounced ban-YULES), on the southernmost tip of France, along Spanish border near the Mediterranean, is also the home to a dry wine, typically named for the village of Collioure, which is in that territory. These wines are actually quite enjoyable, too, if you find one.
As for this sweet Banyuls from Les Clos de Paulilles, it has a picture of chocolate shavings on the label for a reason. The cocoa here is almost like a milk chocolate, smooth and with strawberry and some raspberry in the kicker. Very easygoing and not oppressively sweet, I expect some drinkers could easily mistake this for a fruitier Zinfandel.
B+ / $20 (500ml bottle) / clos-de-paulilles.com