We were recently contacted and asked if we would like to participate in a celebration of the wines of the Languedoc region of southern France. It didn’t take long for us to decide yes! We joined others around the country in celebrating #LanguedocDay on May 30. We invited a few of our wine friends and put together dishes we thought would match with each of the four wines we received as tasting samples.
Our first significant introduction to the wines of the Languedoc AOC in southern France came at the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland. There, we were able to sample a large selection of Languedoc wines and liked what we tasted. When we returned home, we put together a Languedoc party of our own. We had six Languedoc wines, some of which were samples and some we purchased. We made dishes to pair with them and invited some of our wine friends. It was a fun way to learn about the wine and what food paired the best with them.
Similarly, we were favorably impressed with the four wines we tasted for this celebration of #LanguedocDay. Here is what we tasted and the dishes we paired with each wine.
J Laurens Brut Crémant de Limoux — this medium yellow sparkling wine has obvious aromas of baked apples and toasted bread. Flavors reinforce the aromas with baked apples and toasted almonds. Mouth-filling bubbles combine with nice acidity for a round, clean finish which lingers on the palate. ABV 12%. $13.99
I couldn’t help but smack my lips as I savored the lingering flavors of this Crémant de Limoux. About the same time one of our guests commented, “this wine is just lovely.” She described the aromas and flavors as reminiscent of the oats she used to feed her horses! Lots of flavors and aromas in this delightful wine.
It paired nicely with both cheeses we served, a goat brie and a chèvre with herbs. The mild creaminess of the goat brie especially matched the mouth feel of the Crémant. Not that the J Laurens Brut Crémant need food to be enjoyed. It is very easy to sip on its own and is not perceivably sweet.
The Limoux AOC is an area 25 km to the south of Carcassonne in the Languedoc. The region makes still and sparkling wines and is home to Abbe St. Hilaire where sparkling wine production dates back to 1531, predating its production in Champagne.
2012 Château Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet — pale yellow in the glass with delicate melon aromas. Clean flavors of citrus and minerals combine with a steely acidity for a lingering finish. ABV 12.5%. $11.99
This wine has summertime written all over it. Enjoy it anytime the temperature gets warm and with a wide variety of food. Seafood is a natural combination with this wine, we chose crab filled avocados, but shrimp, clams, oysters would all be delicious as would grilled fish. When looking for white wines to pair with seafood, it’s wise to look at coastal regions making white wine. The combination is usually a natural.
It is perfect for a picnic, and convenient too, it has a screw cap closure. The tall green bottle, called a Neptune bottle, has waves embossed around the neck of the bottle and most importantly the Languedoc Cross above the label. It is unique to the appellation. You can see it in the photo at the end of this post.
Picpoul de Pinet is both an appellation within the Languedoc AOC and the name of the grape variety—the only variety that may be used for the AOC wine. The area is located in the center of Languedoc along the Thau lagoon where the indigenous variety has grown for centuries.
2013 Domaine Fontsainte Gris de Gris Corbières Rosé — a beautiful rose color in the glass with aromas of flowers and berries that just shouts, “Here I am!” Flavors of strawberries, blackberries and lime zest combine with zippy acidity for a long finish. ABV 12.5%. $14.99
This is one of our favorite Rosés and we buy it every year. It is always flavorful and fresh tasting. We were really excited when we received the samples for this tasting and this wine was among them. It is produced using the saignée method, that is the juice is “bled off” the skins soon after crushing. The blend of grapes used in the production of this Rosé is 70% Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan, 10% Cinsault.
We often begin the evening with a glass of this wine before dinner, while sitting in the shade of our back yard. It’s refreshing and flavorful enough to enjoy with dinner to follow as well. For our #LanguedocDay celebration we enjoyed it with charcuterie, which was a perfect pairing.
AOC Corbières is the largest appellation in the Languedoc region, and produces mostly red wine. Located between Carcassonne and the Mediterranean, this large appellation has widely-variable soil types, climates and exposures.
2012 Château Coupe Roses La Bastide — still a very young ruby-violet color in the glass, dark fruit aromas and flavors combine with cedar, spice and savory flavors. It is medium bodied and has ample tannins and great acidity. It has plenty of savory, dark fruit flavor without being heavy, a good warm weather red wine. ABV 13%. $12.99
The La Bastide is made of Carignan and Grenache, with around 5% Syrah. We paired it with our version of cassoulet, that southwestern French dish containing white beans, roast pork, duck and sausage that can take days to prepare. Our version is made with white beans and a variety of sausages. It was delicious with the Château Coupe Roses La Bastide.
The Château Coupe Roses vineyards are located at the highest elevations (750 – 1350 feet above sea level) in Minervois. Here the growing season is long and the nights are cool. Read a detailed and interesting account of the people behind the winery and their wines at Vintage 59, the importer of this delicious wine.
AOC Minervois is located north of Corbières and inland from the Mediterranean. Red wine is mostly produced in this appellation. Climate is largely Mediterranean, but very cold winters are characteristic of higher elevations in the appellation.
This collection of wine, all with modest alcohol levels, provided an excellent introduction to the wide range of wine made in the Languedoc. This very large region has so much to offer in terms of soil, terrain, grape varieties and wine styles. There truly is a wine for every taste from the Languedoc AOC and at a very reasonable price. The prices noted are from the K&L Wine Merchants website, who shipped the wines to us.
Merci to Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (@LanguedocWines on Twitter), the trade council of the Languedoc AOC wines, for their sponsorship of #LanguedocDay. What a fun way to learn about the wines of this diverse region.
Thanks also to Laura at Benson Marketing Group for reaching out to PullThatCork. The selection of samples from the Languedoc region shipped from K & L Wine Merchants was spot-on. Nice choices all.
Robinson, Jancis. (Editor), 3rd edition, The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford University Press. Retrieved via www.jancisrobinson.com