Saturday, 25 September 2010

Languedoc-Roussillon Wine

I can't say I know much anything about French wine. Having read a little, I understand that lots of it is really expensive, and that some of it is the best in the world. But generally I'd avoid it simply because I don't have a clue. At a tasting of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as part of the Sud de France Festival, I tried to educate myself through the medium of drinking. The region, on the south coast, is the oldest wine-producing area in the country, consisting of about 20 geographically defined appellations and - get this - producing more than 40% of France's wine. It's also considered to be the country's bargain basement when it comes to fermented grapes, which has to be good news for the general drinker.

At the tasting, we tried a good few, reinforced by plenty of French tapas, if there is such a thing. It became apparent early on that the region is so massive, and varied, it's hard to describe a "typical" Languedoc-Roussillon. By my reckoning, there was a tendency towards dryness in both the whites and reds, not something I necessarily go for. But every now and then I stumbled across a great'un, where the tannins accepted a supporting role. Here are my top little picks:


Laurent Miguel Vérité
 2008, 13.5%
Made with Viognier grapes, available from Waitrose.
The oakiest white wine ever! Dry, rich, aromatic and substantial. 

Domaine Guillaume Cabrol Picpoul de Pinet Prestige 2009

Another white, this one made from Picpoul grapes.
Green fruits, citrus, melon and freshly cut grass. A top picnic wine!

Leon Barral Blanc Biodynamic 2008, 13%
Biodynamic wine is organic plus, produced according to a number of spiritual principles, with reference to lunar and cosmic rhythms, etc. (read more here).
Cloudy, yellow colour. Full bodied, sweet - a good breakfast wine, someone noted.


Silene Grande Cuvée 2004

80% Syrah, 20% Grenache, aged for 22 months in French new oak barrels.
This red was my overall favourite of the whole evening. Vanilla-oak flavours, reasonably rich with a touch of chocolate, and a slight dryness ending silkily.

Trois Orris Sirissime 2008
, 14.5%
A nicely balanced wine made with 100% Syrah grapes.
Rich and fruity red, with a decent velvety finish.


Treloar Muscat de Rivesaltes
2006, 15.5%
A white dessert wine made with Muscat grapes by an English-run family winery. An inscription on the bottle asks imbibers to drink "as an aperitif and with cakes, pudding, cheeses and chocolates". OK, will do.
Clean, green fruit, sweet, but not thick or syrupy, with a little acidity providing balance.

Lots still to learn - but thankfully this sort of learning doesn't feel like work in the slightest. Merci Biens, Les Français!

MORE! The Sud de France Festival runs in London until September 30. Check out the events schedule here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andy, glad you enjoyed the tasting! Best wishes, Louise Hurren (PR, Sud de France)