Tag Archives: Languedoc

Toast to #LanguedocDay on May 27

Back in 2013 I said the Languedoc region in France was one to watch. I still feel that way, if not more so.

It’s really the best of all worlds. The weather is ideal, the villages are beautiful, and seemingly every grape does well there. Plus you’ll find an abundance of great values.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Looking for a sparkling wine? There’s Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux, made using the same traditional method as Champagne (and the second most imported French sparkler after Champagne).

How about the perfect summer white? Picpoul de Pinet is the wine that goes from poolside sip to nighttime aperitif, and is made for shellfish and seafood.

And the de rigeur rosé? Mais oui! Though Provence, its neighbor to the east is best known for its rosés, Languedoc comes in a close second. The climate and grapes make for wines that are very similar in style to Provence rosés.

For the red wines there is just about anything you could want — Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and beyond.

This #LanguedocDay I invite you to join me on Twitter and Instagram and share what Languedoc wines you are sipping.

For more information visit languedocadventure.com.

#LanguedocDay is sponsored by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc.

Cheers and santé!

Wines for Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Whether you prefer to say “I love you” with something sparkling, sweet or pink, here are wines that are perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Demarie Birbet Brachetto
Roero, Italy
$20, 6.5% alcohol by volume

Lightly sparkling, a touch sweet and a deep magenta hue make Brachetto an ideal sip on Valentine’s Day. This wine comes from the Piedmont region in northwest Italy and is made entirely from the Brachetto grape. Like Prosecco, Brachetto gets its bubbles from the Charmat method.

The Demarie Birbet Brachetto has flavors of ripe raspberry, strawberry and cherry, with floral notes of rose and violet. Enjoy the Brachetto as an aperitif or with dessert.

 

Biltmore Pas de Deux
Monterey & Arroyo Seco, California
$19, 12.5% alcohol by volume

The Biltmore Estate, a popular destination in Asheville, North Carolina, produces a range of wines using grapes grown at the estate and sourced from California. The Pas de Deux, a gently sweet Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, is made entirely from Muscat Canelli grapes from California’s Central Coast.

Meaning “a dance for two,” the Pas de Deux is meant to be shared with someone special. It has round flavors of orange, lemon, white raspberry and wildflower honey, with small and energetic bubbles. Enjoy the Biltmore Pas de Deux as an aperitif or with lightly sweet or cream based dishes.

Click here for more sparkling wine suggestions

 

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer 2011
Alsace, France
$30, 14% alcohol by volume

If it’s flowers you enjoy giving or receiving on Valentine’s Day, then Gewurztraminer is the grape for you. This white wine is extremely aromatic – take a sniff and you may be able to smell honeysuckle, jasmine, gardenia and rose.

The gentle sweetness in the Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer is nicely balanced with mouth-tingling acidity. Flavors of Meyer lemon, tangerine and a hint of white chocolate culminate in a pleasing finish that has a lingering touch of orange blossom honey. Oysters are a great pairing with the Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer, as are other shellfish, seafood, and spicy dishes.

 

Domaine de Triennes Rosé 2011
Var, France
$18, 12.5% alcohol by volume

The French know love – and rosé wine. This rosé from Provence is a partnership of two of Burgundy’s great estates: Aubert de Villane, co-owner of Domaine Romanee-Conti and Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac. The wine is mainly made from Cinsault, with some Grenache and a dash of Merlot.

Light peachy-pink in color, the Triennes Rosé is elegant and aromatic with red fruit and floral notes. Round flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and a hint of herbes de Provence come together in a clean, dry finish.

Mini Rosé 2010
Languedoc, France
$11, 11% alcohol by volume

This rosé from southwest France is made from the Cinsault grape. Pale salmon in color, the Mini Rosé has delicate flavors of white raspberry, strawberry and red grapefruit with refreshing acidity. Enjoy this wine with fish, grilled chicken, salad or pasta. Bonus: with only 87 calories per glass, you won’t feel guilty consuming a few extra pieces of chocolate.

 

Dark Lady of the Labyrinth Pinotage 2011
Wellington, South Africa
$20, 13.5% alcohol by volume

Smoky and seductive, the Dark Lady Pinotage is sure to spice up your Valentine’s Day. This red wine from South Africa offers a unique alternative to Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

Intense aromas of smoked meat, leather and black fruit introduce a palate of blackberry, black cherry, black pepper, mocha and pipe tobacco. The wine has a silky mouthfeel, with gentle tannins and a long, satisfying finish. This wine demands to be served with a steak.

Wine Trends for 2013

Want to discover new wines and stay ahead of the latest trends? Here’s what the Amateur Gastronomer predicts will be big in 2013:

Wines from the Languedoc

The wine region to watch in 2013 is the Languedoc. This region in southern France is producing exceptional wine at great values.

The Languedoc is located along the Mediterranean sea, between the Spanish border and Provence. South of Bordeaux and west of the Rhône, the Languedoc offers wines made with grapes found in both regions (including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). The Languedoc’s aromatic white wines are food-friendly and crowd pleasing, and include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Picpoul. Ideal growing conditions and less name recognition contribute to make Languedoc wines wallet-friendly.

Vegan Wines

With grapes as the main ingredient, you would think wine would be vegan, right? Not necessarily. The culprits: egg whites and gelatin. These are used in fining, a technique to clarify wine. The fining agents attract and bind with unwanted solids; once they are removed the wine is clear, bright and without sediment.

Vegan wines follow in the footsteps of organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines, with consumers wanting to know in greater detail where and how their wines are produced. Look for vegan wines to have a bigger presence at wine shops and restaurants in 2013.

Wines from the Other 47

Venture outside California, Oregon and Washington and you’ll find that there are many standout wines produced beyond the West Coast. These whites, reds, sparkling and sweet wines are winning awards and gaining fans across the country. In particular, New York, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are producing noteworthy wines. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to try a wine from another state.

White Wines Low in Alcohol

Bigger is not always better – and such is the case when it comes to more alcohol in wine. Over the past few years white wines have been creeping above 13% alcohol, which can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavors.

In 2013 look for white wines that are full in flavor, not in alcohol, to be popular. These include Riesling and Portugal’s Vinho Verde, which have alcohol content ranging from 8 to 11 percent. These white wines are especially good as the weather warms up, as they are refreshing and easy to sip on a hot day.

Tannat, Tamed

At the other end of the wine spectrum is Tannat, a red wine grape that produces robust, full-bodied wines with big tannins and high alcohol content. Tannat originated in southwest France and has found a home in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape. Tannat is grown in a number of US states, and can be used alone or in blends.

Tannat has a wild reputation but in 2013 look for Tannat to be tamed. Winemakers have been adjusting the harvest time as well as fermentation and aging techniques to coax out the softer, more elegant side of Tannat. If you’re a fan of red wine and haven’t yet tasted Tannat, make 2013 the year to do so.

AG Pick: HB Picpoul de Pinet 2010

As the summer nears its end (at least according to the calendar), the lingering hot temperatures call for white wine. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing white to enjoy outdoors or want something to drink with lobster or other shellfish, the HB (Hugues Beaulieu) Picpoul de Pinet 2010 from La Cave de Pomerols is the perfect pairing.

Picpoul de Pinet comes from the Languedoc region in southwest France. It is a region that, while not as famous as the neighboring Rhône, is producing delicious wines from several of the same varietals.

Picpoul de Pinet is made entirely from the Picpoul (or Piquepoul) grape. The wine bottle makes it easy to spot — slim and green, Picpoul de Pinet is marked with a Cathar cross and ring of waves on the neck.

If you are a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, you must try Picpoul de Pinet. The 2010 HB Picpoul is fresh and crisp with racy acidity. Pale straw yellow in color, the wine has citrus and white flower aromas. Lime, honeydew, white grapefruit and green pear flavors along with a hint of Meyer lemon and mineral notes make for a lively sip. Super refreshing, the HB Picpoul de Pinet is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

Because the HB Picpoul de Pinet is lighter in alcohol it is great for hot weather — though you’ll surely want to enjoy any time of year.

Much like Albariño from Spain, Picpoul de Pinet demands to be paired with seafood. One sip of the 2010 HB Picpoul de Pinet and you will be craving raw oysters. This wine goes well with a variety of shellfish and white fleshed fish, as well as salads and light pasta dishes.

A bottle of the Cave de Pomerols HB Picpoul de Pinet 2010 costs $12.

alcohol 12.5% by volume

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