Wine Recommendations for “Rising Stars of Southern France”
Where are we?
The Pays d'Oc (Languedoc-Roussillon region) is located in the south of France delineated to the west by the border of Spain and to the east Montpellier. It contributes approximately 25% of the total wine production in France. It has long been considered the bulk wine capital of France, sometimes called a “wine lake”. Land is considerably less expensive here and terroir supports a wide variety of grapes. Increasing new wine makers are finding their way to this region and building brands. This historic and ancient are with its a hilly and rocky land that is oriented towards the Mediterranean sea. Diversity is the key of this region. The south west is influenced by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean with strong winds providing both positive and negative benefits. Blowing winds are helpful in reducing humidity and therefore the risk of disease and pests. Not only is this a beautiful area of France that has perhaps been overlooked, it also is the “rising star” of red wine.
A star Producer
Last year at this time I visited Narbonne and the wineries of Gerard Bertrand. Visiting the top vineyards inspired not only the farmer in me but also the wine gal. Biodynamic practices are the heart and soul of the grape growing regime and the wines are made with relatively little intervention to bring out the expression that is so uniquely found here in Minervois.
Biodynamic farming follows a specific calendar of root, leaf, fruit and flower days. It follows a particular regime of soil treatments avoiding chemicals at all cost, respecting nature as much as possible - building up not breaking down the soil - life! The belief is - the health of the soil is the measure of the quality of the vine, and the grapes and ultimately the wine.
We visited Domaine Cigalus on a beautiful bright November morning. The vineyards had already been harvested and preparations for the wine were under way. Wines from this vineyard are full bodied, dry red wine, flavourful and spirited. The styles show a balance of art and skill of blending. Warm, spicy elements drawn from Syrah, Carignan, Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon and an indigenous variety Caladoc are present in all the wines.
In the afternoon we drove to Clos d'Ora where the intimate knowledge of soil, climate, slope and grape variety along with attention to detail and limited intervention wine makes this vineyard totally unique. We tasted a barrel sample of the 2017 vintage. Only one wine comes from this vineyard. The style is ripe, full bodied, subtle berry fruit, pepper, savory and delicious.
Here are the wine recommendations for our Thursday session “Rising Stars of Southern France” available at BC Liquor Stores and Marquis Wine Cellars.
L’Olivette Pays d’OC Rouge $16.99
Paul Mas Estate – Single Vineyard Malbec $14.99
Gerard Bertrand Corbieres 2016 $19.99
Gerard Bertrand Corbieres Chateau Villemajou 2011 $57.99
(Original family label)
Gerard Bertrand Saint Chinian 2016 $22.49
(Syrah & Mouvedre blend)
Domaine de Cebene Les Bancels Organic 2015 $31.99
Domaine Ollier Taillefer Grand Reserve 2015 $32.99
La Condamine Paulignan 2015 $22.99
Domaine Tour Boisee 2018 Carignan $30.19 |Marquis
(55 year old vines)
Chateau de Fauzan 2012 Minervois $16.43 | Marquis
(Syrah 70%, Grenache 20%, Carignan 10%)
Chapoutier Bila Haut $16.99
Regis Boucabeille 2017 Cotes du Roussillon “Les Terrasses” $27.74 | Marquis
Domaine Gardies 2016 Mas Las Cabes Cotes du Roussillon $30.34 | Marquis
(Syrah (60%) & Grenach (40%))
Lafage Bastide Miraflors 2017 $24.99
(Syrah (74%) & Grenache (26%)