This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080611.php.
Hearty Languedoc red
Let's move from Monday's dissertation on Provence to the Southern French region just to the west: Languedoc, the strip of land that stretches along the Mediterranean coast from the Rhone river to Spain, has long been the source of much of France's modest, everyday table wine. In recent years, it has been gaining a better reputation, and Coteaux ("Hillsides") du Languedoc has become a regional name to look for.
Today's featured producer, Jean-Benoit Cavalier, calls his property Chateau Lascaux from the word for "limestone" in French. The name may be more familiar to many from the famous French limestone caves with their prehistoric Cro-Magnon cave paintings. Although the caves are located well north of the Coteaux du Languedoc, but Cavalier signals the connection with a tiny cave-art animal his logos. You'll find my tasting notes below.
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Chateau Lascaux 2005 Coteaux du Languedoc ($12.99)
Plums and prunes, a whiff of cherries and a hint of smoke, fruit-forward but complex. A big mouth-full on the palate, flavors follow the nose; black fruit, fresh acidity and distinct tannins, a sturdy 14% alcohol. No shrinking violet of a wine, very good with red meat. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (June 9, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: Excellent red-meat companion with medium-rare hamburgers made from natural local beef.
VALUE: A fair price in the lower teens.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its body, tannins and acidic balance suggest at least some potential for a few years in the cellar, but it's fine to drink now.
WEB LINK: You'll find producer J.-B. Cavalier's winery Website at this link. It's available in French only; the British flag icon for an English-language site leads to a page "under construction."
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