Vins du Sud de la France. From Minervois and Faugères
The Languedoc is a huge wine area in the south of France. To the east it bounds with the Southern Rhone, to the west, after a couple of hours on the A61, you'll arrive in the vineyards of Bordeaux. According to Wine-Searcher, "nearly a third of all the wine-bearing vines in France" are grown here. Quite a few appellations across the area and probably the best known are Minervois, Saint-Chinian, Corbieres, Fitou, and Faugères.
Had this beauty not too long before and, with a generous price cut on view, I couldn’t resist going for this GSM (Grenache, Mourvèdre / Monastrell, Shiraz / Syrah) again. And glad to say this vibrant blend was every bit as good as I remembered.
Dark ruby is the colour of this supple unoaked Minervois from certified sustainably farmed vineyards. In the intense aromas you’ll find black fruits (plums, cherry). Soft, juicy, fruity, terrific balance and a long finish. This easy-drinking rather elegant wine, with silky tannins, is full bodied and lush, immediately loveable, with a persistent finish and a touch of spice, this is Very Highly Recommended. Pair with paté, roasted meats and pasta. Serve at 18 degrees.
They say: Part of the wine is vinified using carbonic maceration which adds a fresh juicy element to the blend with notes of crushed raspberries and blackcurrants. The wine is round and balanced with nice resistance and a fruity spicy finish.
Minervois is an appellation in the western Languedoc in France; its name comes a nearby village called Minerve which itself is named after Minerva, a Greek goddess. Other appellations in the area include Corbieres and Fitou, whose similar red wines are similar. Beware though, local pride is strong here so, if visiting one of the two, reserve your highest praise for that local wine!
Dark red’s the colour. Dark fruit too in the aromas plus a touch of the garrigue. Smooth and outstandingly spicy, fresh, with abundant fruit and fine tannins, and harmonious all the way through the persistent finish. This one’s for the leg of lamb and Highly Recommended.
You’ll find Faugères in the heart of the Haut-Languedoc Parc Naturel. Here, winemaker Brigitte Chevalier was drawn by the qualities of the terroir, its exposure (north-facing, for balanced wines) and altitude (300 metres, in the foothills of the Massif Central). She farms organically and the 2013 Les Bancèls is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.
By the way, it is also in Faugères that you'll find Domaine la Sarabande. Here, Australian Paul Gordon and his Carlow wife Isla work. Their excellent wines are available from O'Briens.