25 Juin Languedoc tasting – Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate June 2020
Posted at 14:31h
in Wine Advocate
If readers haven’t realized it yet, France’s Languedoc is becoming a hotbed for quality wines. No longer just great values, prices have started to climb, with triple-digit bottles no longer a fever dream. Former rugby star Gérard Bertrand is pushing the envelope more than most, adding a $190 rosé to his lineup this year, but there are still a bevy of $20 bottles in his quality-oriented portfolio.
Organic and biodynamic farming are on the rise in the region, as producers are no longer focused just on yields but instead on quality. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews which wines are certified as such.
In general, wine lovers can focus on the region’s crus, subregions that have established a reputation for quality: Corbières Boutenac, La Clape, Minervois La Livinière, Pic Saint Loup and Terrasses du Larzac. Each has something specific to offer in terms of terroir.
Corbières Boutenac: Relatively low in elevation (80–100 meters above sea level) for an inland appellation, it’s protected from the harshest winds off the mountains and the sea alike, with a mix of stones, clays and sand. In general, these are round, ripe wines. Top producers in this report: Château Grand Moulin, Château de Caraguilhes, Château Fabre Gasparets (Famille Fabre.)
La Clape: Bounded by water on two sides, La Clape is the most maritime of the Languedoc crus. Both red and white wines often carry a hint of salinity. Top producers in this report: Château de la Negly, Château d’Anglès (reds), Château l’Hospitalet (Gérard Bertrand).
Minervois la Livinière: Inland and upland, with a base of limestone and clay, this is a dry area of warm days and cool nights. Intense and powerful wines are the rule. Top producers in this report: Domaine de la Borie Blanche, Domaine Michlelin La Combe Cachée, Gérard Bertrand.
Pic Saint Loup: Centered around the twin peaks of Pic Saint Loup and Hortus, north (inland) of Montpellier, this cru boasts the advantages of limestone (for water retention and drainage) and altitude. Some fine, elegant wines. Top producers in this report: Château Lancyre, Château Lavabre, Domaine de l’Hortus.
Terrasses du Larzac: Northwest of Montpellier, these vineyards are heavily influenced by their altitude and the presence of nearby Mont Boudile. Standing 850 meters above sea level at its peak, cool air descending its slopes helps keep the wines from this appellation fresh. Top producers in this report: Château Saint Jean d’Aumières, Domaine du Causse d’Arboras, Mas Jullien.
Other appellations also produce noteworthy wines, and much like other parts of the wine world, producer trumps most other variables. Find a producer making wines you like, and that’s half (or more) of the battle.