The fresh taste of Roussillon

View from Dom Brial's Le Crest Petit vineyard

Despite abundant sun and warmth and a distinct lack of water, Roussillon's best wines stand out for their freshness and vivacity. Could it be the farming? 

The amphitheatre of Roussillon, shaped by three mountain ranges and facing the Mediterranean Sea (see this map), is France’s sunniest region, averaging 316 sunlit days a year. It’s also the driest, often seeing just 500 mm (20 in) of rain in a year, and one of the windiest, thanks in the main to the powerful north wind they call the tramontane.

You might expect the increase in heat and drought periods brought on by...