One of the most exciting wine regions in France is the Languedoc-Roussillon. This area on France’s western Mediterranean coast has more than 700,000 acres of vines and is the single largest wine-producing area in the world. Why have most Americans never heard of it? The answer is that most wines produced there until the 1990s were very ordinary. With a climate and terrain similar to nearby Provence and the Southern Rhone, the Languedoc was a treasure waiting to be discovered. Sure enough the wines produced there have improved in leaps and bounds since the 1980s. Now quality wines covering a broad spectrum, from white to red, dry to sweet, still to sparkling are made. The most distinctive wines are generally soft, rustic red blends, using Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignon. These wines represent some incredible values.
The Languedoc has a long tradition of producing sweet fortified wines. Muscats are the most prevalent white dessert wines, but my favorite is called Banyuls, made from principally Grenache. Cremont de Limoux is a sparkling wine made from a blend of Mauzac, Chardonnay and or Chenin Blanc. These are the first sparkling wines ever made in France (yes, even before Champagne).
The Languedoc-Roussillon is a rural area of mostly small humble wineries and cooperatives worth discovering for yourself.
This month we will be offering Jack Nicklaus Private Reserve, 2012, Sauvignon Blanc from Napa, California. It’s not your typical Sauvignon Blanc, with some oak aging, it’s rounder with citrus, green apple and caramel, a medium body and long finish.
Our red wine of the month is from the Maipo Valley in Chile. Santa Ana, 2013, Merlot is soft with plenty of plum and blackberry flavors, and spice.
Wine club members please come in early and pick up your bottles before they’re gone.