Most people have never heard of the Languedoc AOC region in Southern France despite that it has the largest area planted under vines in the world (a whopping 736,000 acres). A great many more than Burgundy and Bordeaux and yet it is not counted among the great wine regions. Even though wine has been produced in Languedoc for more than 2000 years, until recently, much of it has been ordinary table wines that didn’t speak of the character of the region.
Until now that is. The Languedoc AOC is blessed with every major factor needed to make great wine: soil, wind, sun and sea. Most importantly, there is a distinguishing characteristic that makes these wines special: garrigue. What the what?? Yes, garrigue, it is simply the name of Languedoc’s special terrior. A low-lying Mediterranean scrub brush in the south of France, garrigue are plants like holm oak, juniper and wild herbs like rosemary and thyme. This unique terroir lends mineral, green and herby aromatics and flavors to the wines grown there.
Bauer has always been a fan of the wines of Languedoc and with a partnership with L’Aventure Languedoc, we were able to showcase them at the last two Saturday afternoon tastings. As the crowds gather around the tasting table and our charming host, Stephane, talked about the wines an excitement began to build. Stephane sold bottle after bottle and we kept hearing how great the wines tasted. We knew that once people tried the wines from this region they were sure to buy. All of them are still available at the store for you!
The wines we tasted:
We admit it. The Bauer staff loves Picpoul. This one is vibrant and well-balanced with floral, white peach, fresh lemon and mandarin. Saint Martin has this briny component to the wine that just screams for fresh seafood!
A much different Picpoul than the first one, Felines is one of my favorites we have had in the store. Judging by how much we sell of it, it seems to be a favorite among our customers too. Felines is perfect with its full-flavored aromas of flowers, citrus fruits, aniseed and fennel. In the mouth, one finds plenty of that typical acidity of Picpoul de Pinet. The wine stays on its lees 3 months before filtration and bottling for additional umph.
A crowd favorite and sold out during the first tasting! Languedoc Chardonnay is fresh and chalky with fresh lemon, pears and yellow apple aromas. The light touch of oak gives the wine a pleasing butter toast element that balances out the acidity nicely.
A red blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah that expresses dark berries, violet, espresso and sweet oak in the nose and gives flavors of currant, chocolate, pepper, meat and leather. The ripe tannins make this a great wine to go with grilled meats.
This wine is a great example of the traditional style Faugeres AOC with its blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. The elegant tannins give way to a wine with lovely spice and old-vine Carignan notes of cigar smoke, leather and licorice. La Liquiere is a complex wine with attractive dry texture and maturing fruit.
One hearty Syrah and the sleeper hit of the first tasting! A ripe wine with sweet, dark fruits, black olive and licorice notes. The richness and density gave a great expression of the garrigue terroir with its spicy layers of rosemary and thyme. Since the La Sauvageonne is lightly oaked there is just a touch of vanilla cream that rounds out the wine so nicely.
This is a bold red comprised of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. You’ll taste a quartet of darks—dark cherries, dark plum, dark chocolate and dark coffee. The finish is long; the chocolate seems to hang on forever. But the tannins have even greater stamina, tingling your gums long after the chocolate has disappeared.
A blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault. 20% of it is aged in one and two year French oak barrels. L’engoulenvent displays aromatic notes of blackberry, cassis with some resin, pine and rubber on the nose. Definitely has some ripe and meaty fruit with some darker fruit components of black cherry, raspberry and plum with prominent herbaceous, black licorice and smoky mineral notes. Also, there were some funky green vegetables that made this one stand out in the crowd.
So there you have it! Languedoc wines: great wines with unique terroir at prices everyone can afford.