Feb 18 2009

Languedoc Wines Give a Little Taste of the South of France

I attended a tasting Tuesday at Avec of 28 Languedoc wines from the south of France which had been selected through a blind tasting by a group of American journalists and sommeliers from more than 150 wines. We tasted the stand-outs, which all offered a different taste of the region.

Languedoc wines have a particular style – robust, fruity, savory, spicy wines – which can be attributed to their ‘terroir.’ While some of you may be familiar with this term, for those who aren’t, here’s a succinct definition (straight out of my well-worn book from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust course I completed last year): “The term ‘terroir’ refers to the ensemble of natural influences that give a wine a sense of place.”

So, now, I’m going to tell you a little bit about these wines, to hopefully peak your curiosity so you’ll taste them soon. They offer variety and really great value from producers and winemakers who are both traditional and innovative in their approach. While the Languedoc used to be known for producing so-so quality table wines for French consumption, they’ve gotten with the times and now produce many remarkable wines for international enjoyment.

There are 22 appellations in the Languedoc which grow red grapes such as Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah and whites such as Clairette, Piquepoul, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Rousanne, Muscat and Rolle. Most wines are still wines, but there are 4 appellations which produce sparkling wines and sweet ‘vins doux naturels.’

If you want a taste of the south of France in a bottle, Just Grapes has a 2003 Domaine Lignères Aric from the Corbières region, which is known for producing full-bodied, spicy reds. This one is silky, delicious, gives off ripe red cherry flavors with hints of spice and finishes with a lingering taste of chocolate on the palate. It’s well-structured and can be enjoyed now or in a couple of years – if you can wait that long!

Have you had any experience with Languedoc wines – either red, white or sparkling? If so, what did you think? Inquiring minds want to know.

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