A WINE SAFARI IN LANGUEDOC: April 2006
Today, the winemakers in the Languedoc-Roussillon have a spirit of adventure,
and the region is one of the most innovative and exciting wine producing regions
today. Since the Languedoc is only a few hours away, we decided to set out
for a weekend visit in April to discover three domains in the area just west
of Montpellier -- Our second Wine Safari...
Our first visit was Domaine des Charmettes, situated Marseillan, in the heart
of the Languedoc, between Sète and the Cap d'Agde, and just a few minutes
from the Etang de Thau and the Mediterranean. This 80 hectare domain is run
by a young winemaker who is dedicated to using agricultural methods that respect
the environment. This domain produces wines typical of the region, as well
as those varieties from the Atlantic.
We tasted several surprising assemblages at this domain, including a white
(Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Viognier and Grenache Blanc), and a red (Merlot, Cabernet,
Syrah, Grenache). Another unexpected pleasure was the domain's Pinot Noir
Rosé, which had a nice clear salmon color, woody aromas, fruity and
Our next visit was to the domaine Preignes le Neuf, a domain that has been
in the same family for five generations. Today they produce wines of a single
terroir, the Garrigue. We were welcomed by Beatrice, who was more than happy
to have us sample each of their wines. Their Red Vin de Pays d’Oc is
a complex blend of four grape varieties, Merlot, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvigon,
and Syrah. The result is a supple fruity wine that is easy to drink. Their
white Vin de Pays d’Oc Chardonnay is a delcious dry white, a pale golden
yellow color, and an intense aroma of white flowers.
We found some excellent Rosé wines in this region and the one produced
by this domain is no exception. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, this is a deeply
colored Rosé with a fresh, fruity aroma and a nicely balanced, fresh
flavor of wild raspberries, It is vinified through the « saignée
» method, being vinified traditionally in steel vats, but after a few
hours of maceration a first juice is extracted « saignée»
from the skins before it begins to ferment.
Our last visit was with Gilles and Lisbeth Pourcel of the Domaine Les Peyrilles
situated in Florensac, in the southern Herault region between Montpellier
and Beziers. The vines of this domain are planted in the clay-chalky Garrigue
soil with a full southern exposure, that overlooks the Bassin of Thau and
the nearby Mediterranean. This domain produces a number of wines characteristic
of the Florensac terroir. The majority of the domaine is composed of the Piquepoule
grape variety and classified AOC Picpoul de Pinet.
Their Picpoul de Pinet has a lovely crystal straw yellow color, aromas of
verbena, lemon and grilled almond, and the refreshing flavors of candied citrus,
and pineapple. This domain also has a delicious, fruity Rosé, a light
pink-lilac color, with an intense aromas of wild strawberries and rose, and
the flavor of blackand red currant.
If you don’t know the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, then
now is the time to discover them and the region.