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Tasting Note: Minervois

Earlier this week, we talked about Picpoul de Pinet, a crisp and food-friendly white wine from the Languedoc region in Southern France. Let's stay with the Languedoc for another day; in my opinion it's one of the world's better regions for wines of good quality and value, where interesting wines can be had - at least for now - at prices that remain rational.

Minervois ("Mee-nehr-vwah"), which is located in the north-central Languedoc just east of the ancient walled village of Carcassonne, offers bargains even by the standard of Languedoc, a happy circumstance that may not last long, as the wineries of this region are working hard to upgrade the local wines. Under new rules, for example, local grapes plus the usually ho-hum Carignan grape, once the primary component of the region's red wines, now may make up no more than 40 percent of the blend; at least 60 percent must be a winemaker's-choice mix of the "better" Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This promotes the development of ripe, full and earthy wines like today's example:

Tour Boisee M-C et J-L Poudou 1999 "Marielle et Frederique" Chateau Tour Boisée Minervois ($9.99)
Very dark blackish-purple; opaque. Plummy, pruney dark fruit and spicy oak aromas open into a big, full flavor, tannic and tart. Plums and leather and minty notes dominate a mouth-filling flavor in a wine that will last and improve for years. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (July 26, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with a hearty leftover-beef hash with peppers and onions.

Express Notes:

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Friday, July 27, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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