70
BEVERAGE MEDIA
June 2013
blend, which is very important in re-
flecting our character. And Minervois,
made in a style that is very U.S.-orient-
ed with a high percentage of Syrah,”
notes Bertrand. “Then there are the
grapes that are newcomers in the last
30 years: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,
Pinot Noir, Malbec. With this we have
full diversity, but also deeply rooted
identity.” For consumers looking for va-
rietal details, most producers, including
Bertrand, explain the specifics of their
blends on the back label.
As part of CIVL’s trade outreach,
Christine Molines was able to test the
waters in markets across the U.S. in
2012. What she discovered was pock-
ets of appreciation. “We have 36 ap-
pellations, and not all of them are even
present in the States,” says Molines.
“In San Francisco Corbières was best-
known, in Chicago they appreciated
Minervois, and in Boston it was Picpoul
that got attention. I also think Limoux
is gaining recognition and had quite a
good year,” she adds, referring to the re-
gion’s AOC that predates Champagne
as a producer of sparkling wine.
Opportunity Abounds
Tim Ford, an Englishman with a
background in horticulture in Africa,
also saw opportunity in Languedoc-
Roussillon; he co-founded Domaine
Gayda, whose first vintage was 2004.
“We were then excited by the mas-
sive diversity of terroir joined with a
New World approach to winemaking.
We have 10 different terroirs within
an hour drive. In Australia that would
take you a week,” beams Ford.
Gayda was quick to embrace the tra-
ditions of blending to conjure the great-
est character from their fruit. “It can be
a struggle to sell the blends in U.S. For
a long time, blending had a bad name.
But our base range is varietal and we
choose to blend all of our top wines,”
says Ford.
Ford suggests the best is still to
emerge from Languedoc-Roussillon, as
the abundant sources of old-vine fruit
are identified and reaped by savvy lo-
cals and enterprising newcomers. “Tra-
ditionally 80% of the grapes went to
co-ops. No one worried about it because
there is a lot of ‘mañana’ attitude here,”
says Ford. “I am not disrespecting the
people because they are great producers
of wine, and in many cases it was the
co-op that screwed them up. But now,
we are seeing you can cherry-pick from
some truly beautiful vineyards.”
Equally exciting is the future for
organic production to increase as more
producers get on board with certifica-
tion. Gayda currently has four wines
certified organic is working to become
fully certified organic for their acces-
sible wines, including their Flying Solo
white and red blends available in the
U.S. “It is easy to be organic,” notes
Ford. “We have a benign climate with
high sunshine and beautiful winds.”
For producers and wine lovers still
uncovering the secrets of this vast re-
gion, Languedoc-Roussillon has awak-
ened to a world full of potential.
FOCUS
ON
FRANCE
If there were a title for Most
Underrated White Wine in
the World, Languedoc’s
Picpoul de Pinet would
be a candidate. Clean,
light, refreshing, fruity and
unoaked, it compares
stylistically with Pinot
Grigio, with a floral
hint as well. Great with
seafood, shellfish and
practically anything
that would qualify as
lunch. Best of all, the
best Picpouls—such
as Ormarine, from the
Jeanjean group—are
the ones that tend to
make it across the
Atlantic, and SRPs
are under $10. This is a
perfect Languedoc wine to feature all
summer as a change of pace for white
wine lovers.
Languedoc’s Secret White
LEFT: Domaine du
Bosc, in Montaudy, is
one of many estates
committed to planting
diverse grapes;
their 65 hectares
include such classics
as Syrah, Grenache
and old-vine Cari-
gnan and newcomers
Merlot, Tempranillo
and Chardonnay.
RIGHT: Gérard
Bertrand, who owns
seven estates across
the Languedoc.
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