Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian

Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian.
Top Notch Reds. And White!

“Down here, they speak the language differently”, I had mentioned to my companion as we came down from Peyrepertuse (left), a high Cathar fort in the Languedoc, south of Carcassonne. Workmen stopped to allow the string of tourists reach the car park. The digger-driver was instantly on his mobile and soon he illustrated my language point as one “Whay” after another boomed out. No gentle “Oui” for him!

They make wine differently too in the rocky hills of the western Languedoc. And they make it very well indeed.

Le Moulin des Nonnes, Cuvée Inés blanc 2012, Minervois, 13.5%, €12.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale from 12th Feb.

This Vin Biologique, produced by the Andrieu brothers, is a blend of Roussanne (50%), Grenache Blanc (40) and Muscat petit grains (10) and is Very Highly Recommended. Colour is a bright gold and it has beautiful floral notes. Nice fruity notes on the palate too, some gorgeous spice too. This elegant organic white, with its fruit and finesse, surprised me. Apparently, less than ten per cent of Minervois wine is blanc. Perhaps we should encourage them to make more! “Whay, whay, si vous plais!”

Les Secrets Saint Chinian rouge 2012, 13.5%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

This red, a brilliant blend of Grenache and Syrah, is Very Highly Recommended. There is a superb introduction on the palate, excellent fruit, spice galore, but nothing extreme, all well balanced. Quite an elegant medium-bodied performer with a silky smooth lingering finish.

St Laurent Corbieres rouge 2012, 14%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

The palate on our second red is slightly more reserved and none the worse for that, fruit and spice again in evidence but slightly more rounded. The Corbieres, bottled by the same co-op in Saint Chinian, is more full bodied, possibly a bit better as a food wine. Grilled meats and cheese are recommended. Indeed, I think the Corbieres is marginally the better wine but I have a small preference for the Saint Chinian. Both though are Very Highly Recommended.

*   French wines are extremely popular in SuperValu and all three above are part of their French sale that begins on February 12th. These three would be a good start and I also note that the Minervois blanc is part of a trio that may be had for €25.00, the others being Coteaux de Giennois (Loire Sauvignon blanc) and Domaine Cristia Grenache. There is more from the Languedoc and big name areas, such as Bordeaux and the Rhone, are also well represented.