Southern France has so many things we love in wine — independent family run estates, distinct terroir, abundant grape varieties, and excellent quality for their price. The appellations of the Languedoc, Roussillon, and Provence are strung out like little jewels along the Mediterranean. Stop by on Saturday as we check out a few of these gems.
2010 Domaine des Cassagnoles, Cotes de Gasgogne $10
50% Colombard, 40% Ugni Blanc,10% Gros Manseng
Domaine des Cassagnoles is situated in the heart of the Gascony, where the Cardeillac family has produced wine for several centuries.Gilles Baumann and Janine Cardeillac took up residence at the family farm in 1974 and started making their own wine instead of using the grapes for Armagnac. The wine shows fresh lime, grapefruit and other citrus notes offered in a light-bodied, fresh, zesty style.
2010 Val de Salis, Viognier, Vin d’Pays d’oc $10
Viognier from 15 to 20 years old vines
Between the Corbières and Minervois, Val de Salis sits on an ancient wetlands amidst the hills and mountains of the Languedoc, cut off from the sea during the uplift that raised the Pyrenees. This brackish lake, with its unpleasant and unhealthy climate, was drained under Louis XIV, at the end of the 17th C, and the land was steadily reclaimed and planted during the French Second Empire. Val de Salis has been in the Gau family for more than 100 years. The vineyards are flooded at the end of each winter, an ancestral technique which allows the vines to be grown on their own rootstock and uniquely protected from phylloxera. The wine has an intense and very complex nose of pineapple, lichees, peaches and apricots. Full-bodied and flavorful on the palate.
2009 Chateau D’Oupia, Minervois Tradition $12
60% Carignan (from 100 years old vineyards), 30% Syrah and 10% Grenache.
15 years ago André Iché switched from selling the wine from his terraced hillside vineyards in Minervios to négociants and turned to bottling it himself. Since then D’Ooupia has become a standard of value. The Tradition is aromatic, full and densely colored, with a long finish of dark fruits that are elegant and balanced. It drinks well young and can age up to 5-7 years.
L’Oustal, Blanc K 10 $17
100% Carignan from 100 year old vines
L’Oustal is a naturaly farmed estate in the Languedoc. The grapes for the K10 come from a blend of their vineyards in Minervois and St Chinian. “Toasted pecan and walnut; dark chocolate; ripe blackberry and cassis; and maritime saline and alkaline minerality combine for complex appeal and terrific value. I suspect this will be lovely for at least the next 3-4 years.” 90pts WA
2009 La Bastide Blanche, Bandol $28
Mourvedre, with a bit of Cinsault/Grenache
La Bastide Blanche is just outside of Castellet, a pretty village in Provence that has been a center of grape cultivation for millenia. The estate is run by the two Bronzo brothers who purchased the vineyards in 1972 Their Bandol shows intense black-fruit aromas and a rich spicy herby flavors along with deep earthy notes. Find out why Bandol is the King of the South.