This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20110211.php.
Good value Languedoc red
Let's stay this week with France's Languedoc region, the subject of our attention in this month's Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Groups.
The Coteaux du Languedoc ("Hillsides of Languedoc"), surrounding the city of Montpellier not far from the Mediterranean coast, is a go-to region for me when I'm looking for sturdy, robust, earthy reds that work and play well at the dinner table.
Usually made from blends of red grapes, Coteaux du Languedoc typically assembles varieties familiar to us from the Rhône: Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, often with a more prominent role for Carignan and Cinsaut.
As discussed in last week's introduction to our monthlong focus on the wines of Provence, Languedoc and Roussillon, the coastal regions of Southern France, these wines remain relatively affordable in an era of rising fine-wine prices. Expect to pay from $10 to $20 for a good Languedoc in much of the U.S. Today's featured wine comes in at the bottom of that bracket: I picked up Chateau St. Martin de la Garrigue 2006 "Tradition" Coteaux du Languedoc locally at $10.99.
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Today's Tasting Report
Chateau St. Martin de la Garrigue 2006 "Tradition" Coteaux du Languedoc ($10.99)
Dark purple shading to a clear garnet edge. Good black-plum aromas, and, I'd swear, a hint of the "garrigue" that lends the chateau its name: The Southern French scent of mixed fresh herbs, rosemary and thyme, growing on the dry summer hillsides. Tart black plums and black cherries on the palate, fresh and bright, a rational 12.5% alcohol, laced up with mouth-watering acidity and softly astringent tannins. This is a benchmark Coteaux du Languedoc, ready to drink and a natural at the dinner table. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2011)
FOOD MATCH: Naturally matched with red meat or roast poultry; it couldn't have been better with a Barr Farm Kentucky free-range roasting hen, simply prepared by splitting down the backbone, butterflying, stuffing garlic under the breast skin, rubbing with olive oil, sprinkling with coarse black pepper and kosher salt and roasting at 400F.
VALUE: You won't get much better value than this in the $10 range.
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