Wine tasting: two superb red values from France’s Languedoc

Languedoc in southern France, as I have noted in recent months, represents some of the world’s best wine values. By that I mean, if you choose well, you’re likely to find modestly priced wines of greater interest and dimension than from most other regions. Many Americans are still unfamiliar with the wines (they would have trouble telling you exactly where Langudeoc is much less specific appellations within the region).

Two reds I sampled recently illustrate the Langudeoc value proposition especially well. The first is Domaine de Fontsainte’s fontsainte 2007 Corbières “Réserve la Demoiselle,” a superb, authentic terroir wine that combines delicious red and dark berry fruit and a deep earthiness. There are lots of other elements here, including fig, mint and rosemary along with cocoa and leather notes. The blend is 60 percent carignan from century-old vines, 30 percent grenache and 10 percent mourvèdre. With a relatively modest 13.5 percent alcohol, this wine would be a perfect match with grilled or pan-seared pork chops. It’s also a real bargain, with the average price listed on wine-searcher.com at about $15.

The second wine is Domaine d’Aupilhac’s 2008 Montpeyroux, a slightly bigger wine with a core of blackberry accented baupilhacy herb, spice and unsweetened chocolate notes, with alcohol listed at 14 percent.  The village of Montpeyroux is a sub-appellation of the broader Coteaux du Languedoc and this wine is a blend of 30 percent mourvèdre, 25 percent syrah, 25 percent carignan, 16 percent grenache and four percent cinsault. Easy food pairings include grilled beef, lamb and sausage. The average price on wine-searcher.com is about $20 or so. Both wines are imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, California. 

As I found on my visit to the region in May, Languedoc, which churns out more wine than any other region in the world, is trying mightily to move past its quantity-over-quality image. These wines are a testament that Languedoc is succeeding. Wines received as press samples.

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