Here are a few French treasures worth seeking out
Many of the wines from the Languedoc region are young and vibrant, making them prime candidates for immediate consumption. Yet, holding onto them for a few years isn’t such a bad idea—and you’ll be rewarded for the wait.
Take for example, the 2006 vintage. Ten years into their journey, the wines are drinking beautifully right now; many of which show the diversity that Languedoc has to offer. Here are a few French treasures worth seeking out, showcasing their ageability.
[box]2006 Abbaye Du Fenouillet Les Clapas Languedoc (formerly Coteaux du Languedoc), France[/box]
The Languedoc AOC results from the extension of the Coteaux du Languedoc appellation, which was recognized as an AOC in 1985. The terroir occupies a restricted designated area that runs from the Spanish border to the outskirts of Nîmes. This often hilly terrain consists of limestone, schist and volcanic soils, as well as terraces dating from the Villafranchian age, all in a landscape dominated by garrigue.
Landscape dominated by garrigue
Rules of the region require that the grapes must come from a defined geographical area and the wine must be made from at least two grape varieties. This Syrah and Grenache blend is medium-bodied with layers of red fruits and herbs. It’s a pleasant and drinking well into its 10-year journey.
[box]2006 Clos Marie Les Glorieuses Languedoc (formerly Coteaux du Languedoc) Pic-Saint-Loup, France[/box]
The AOC’s most northerly appellation nestling twenty kilometers north of Montpellier is one of the coolest in the Languedoc. The land is made up almost entirely of clay, calcareous clay and limestone soil. The vineyard, Pic Saint Loup AOC, is home to wines that have established a solid reputation, thanks to the wine lovers in and around Montpellier who have adopted them as their own. Nothing, however, would have been possible without the vintners of Pic Saint-Loup (the name of the mountain that crowns the hinterland around Montpellier), who have always been committed to asserting their identity and imposing real discipline to raise the quality of their wines.
The 2006 Clos Marie Les Glorieuses Languedoc Pic-Saint-Loup is a Syrah, Grenache blend that is tannic, vivacious and fresh with red fruits. It has not reached its peak yet. This wine could cellar a few more years before reaching maturity.
[box]2006 Domaine Les Aurelles Solen Languedoc (formerly Coteaux du Languedoc), France[/box]
The soil from this area is 40 million years old, and the vineyards are covered in stones and pebbles.
The wine is a blend of Carignan and Grenache with animal like aromas. Getting past the nose will be a bit of a challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with the beauty of raspberry jam and strawberries that lead to a long, silky finish. It has a nice backbone with a good balance between acidity and tannins.
[box]2006 Chateau Pech Redon La Clape L’Epervier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France[/box]
At the heart of La Clape, Chateau Domaine Pech Redon was built on a rocky pedestal away from the noise of the urban world, surrounded by the rapture of colors and Mediterranean scents. This vineyard produces wines that are grainy in texture and allude power.
The 2006 vintage certainly showcases what the vineyard is capable of producing—wines that are mature and charismatic. This blend has a sweet cherry candy nose with round, mature flavors of what might be characterized as a wine made with dried grapes. But it’s the amount of sunlight the vineyard gets which produces wines that are fairly powerful in nature, with a grainy texture that is quite captivating.
Sadly, this producer was vandalized a while back, and most of their 2006 inventory was destroyed or stolen, so there is not much of the vintage left for sale.
[box]2006 Mas Jullien Languedoc (formerly Coteaux du Languedoc), France[/box]
Olivier Jullien produces interesting wines from his 15 hectare estate, which has been in existence since the mid-eighties. His Mas Jullien is a blend of Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvèdre. The 2006 is soft yet tannic, with plenty of rosemary, thyme and sage notes dancing through the glass.
[box]2006 Domaine Peyre Rose de Marlène Soria, Languedoc, France[/box]
So the story goes that every region has its stars and this is one of the Languedoc’s brightest—Domaine Peyre Rose. Former real estate agent Marlene Soria stumbled across this beautiful property back in the late 1980s when she was showing it to a client. Rather than sell the property, she bought it for herself. Having tasted the wine, there is no doubt I would have done the same thing.
This Syrah Grenache blend is a wonderful wine that showcases the region well—flavors of olives, truffles and herbs are inviting and every sip leads you to wanting more. Lucky for us, the winery just bottled the 2006 vintage eight months ago and should be on the shelves soon. You’re in for a pleasant surprise, so buy it up.