Department 66

Apr 28, 2017



Deep in the southwest corner of France lies department 66, which serves as the inspiration and namesake for our winery and vineyards in the town of Maury.

Roughly two hours east of Barcelona, Spain, and thirty minutes inland from the ancient roman port city of Perpignan, old vine Grenache thrives along with syrah and carignan in the “Cotes Catalanes;” a sub-appellation of the Roussillon.
We own and maintain 300 acres (120 hectares) of vineyards among the Pyrénées-Orientales mountain range, which were planted more than 60 years ago. The terroir is dominated by black schist, with small deposits of granite and limestone in red, rocky soils known as angile.

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In March of 2008, I took a friend up on an offer to visit Maury, France. She and her husband had recently purchased vineyards in the area and thought I might have an interest in the town and its wines. We flew from San Francisco to Barcelona and made the two hour drive up to Maury that night. When we arrived it was pitch black…I had no idea what the morning light would bring.
When I awoke, what I saw was insane. I looked out my bedroom window and saw one of the steepest, oldest vineyards I had ever laid eyes on. I was caught – hook, line and sinker. It was a challenge to be patient and get through breakfast. If this is what I could see from my bedroom, what else was out there? The answer was perhaps the most amazing confluence of vineyards I’ve ever been exposed to. I spent the next two days driving around with my jaw agape, stunned by the raw beauty of this truly unique place. I called my wife and told her not to tell anyone where I was and what I was doing. She told me not to do anything stupid. I left that first visit committed to purchasing just under forty acres of amazing Old Vine Grenache. The only stupid thing I did was not buy more. Since then, I’ve returned at least once a month during the regular season, and every seven to ten days during harvest.
In the Spring of 2009, we began construction on a winery and now have over three hundred acres of vineyards. We have a home there and an amazing group of friends. My wife and kids love it almost as much as I do. Some once commented on how nice it was to have a second home in France, and I said, it’s not my second home, it’s my other home. We have found a place and a group of people that are unmatched. I am so lucky to have been introduced to this amazing area and so proud to share its wines with you.
Dave Phinney


OTHERS (Grenache) 2014

Varieties: A blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Mourvedre
Tasting notes: The wine has a profound cardinal hue with powerful aromas of rhubarb compote, savory roasted plum, star anise and leather. Opening with potent flavors of cola, dark fruits, raspberry jam and baking chocolate, it transitions to offer beguiling flavors of forest floor, fennel, and earthy Asian spices. With a purposeful finish, the wine closes with shards of acidity and lengthy polished tannins.


DEPARTMENT 66 (Grenache) 2014

93pts Robert Parker

Varieties: A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan
Tasting notes: D66 is of great elegance where the richness of Old-Vine Grenache commands attention. Opaque and dense purple in appearance, the wine brims with spicy blueberry and ripe black currant fruit aromatics. Mighty upon entry, lush red fruits are met with just a hint of creamy, toasty oak. The intensity and concentration of the mid-palate leads to a long finish with hints of wild fennel and garrigue.


FRAGILE (Rosé) 2016

Varieties: A blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Mourvedre
Tasting Notes: In the glass, the wine shimmers with a pale hue of translucent garnet. Soft aromatics of dried rose petals prevail and invite a tasting. With bright hints of strawberry and ripe stone fruits, the wine leads to an opulent mid-palate. Finishing with purpose, it is long and riddled with layers of texture and grace.



95pts Robert Parker
Varieties: A blend of Grenache and Syrah
Tasting notes: Savory aromas of blackened oak and fresh baked bread mingle with opulent cassis and candied cherries. Rich waves of dense stone fruits coat the mouth on the entry and open up into a broad mouth filling mid pallet. Concentrated and structured, the finish of the wine plays to the long and lingering tannin chains synonymous with the wines from this region.

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