30 Second Wine Advisor: France - The Southern Tier

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France - The Southern Tier

A month in Provence ... and in Languedoc, too. For this month's Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Groups, we're looking at all the red, white and rosé wines of France's Mediterranean regions, including Provence in the East and Languedoc-Roussillon in the west.

It may seem surprising, given the immense popularity of the wines of the Rhone Valley, that the essentially similar wines along the Mediterranean coast have, in general, failed to achieve similar acclaim in the marketplace.

Perhaps this has something to do with marketing, and the long-held reputation of Provence for "little" wines to enjoy alfresco, or of Languedoc, which for generations served as France's source of cheap, everyday wines, something like California's Central Valley.

But more and more, wine enthusiasts nowadays are discovering the excellent wines from these regions. Typically made from grapes familiar to Rhone lovers - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre plus Carignan and others for the reds; Marsanne and Roussanne and Viognier and more in the whites - the wines are often characterful, complex and food-friendly in the Old World style.

Better yet, in an age of rising prices for the more sought-after regions, the wines of France's Southern Tier remain affordable, by and large. Even the upscale outliers - Trevallon or Tempier, anyone? - remain safely in two-digit territory on the price tag.

Join us this month as our friendly international crowd of wine lovers share our thoughts, questions and tasting notes on the wines of Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. To participate in Wine Focus on the WineLovers Discussion Group, click "France - The Southern Tier."

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Today's Tasting Report

Chateau de Lascaux 2008 Coteau du Languedoc ($16.99)

Chateau de Lascaux

Very dark blackish-purple with a clear garnet edge. Black cherry and a whiff of black raspberry on the nose with a hint of "wet stone" that carries over as a mineral note in a tart, freshly acidic black-fruit flavor, dry and somewhat astringent. Good fruit and mouth-watering acidity and tannin come together in a sturdy structure; appealing and food-friendly, perhaps worth a few years' cellar time. A blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, a bit heavy on the alcohol at 14%, but in fairness, it doesn't show in the flavor. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2011)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with red meat, roast chicken or cheese; it went very nicely with an Italian-American pasta sauce made with fresh tomatoes and ground bison.

VALUE: Wine-Searcher.com lists it from $13 to $17. It's a good value throughout that range, excellent value at the lower end.

WEB LINK: You'll find the English home page of J.B. Cavalier's Chateau de Lascaux website at this link.

Compare prices and locate vendors for Chateau de Lascaux on Wine-Searcher.com.

Talk About Wine Online

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet's first and still the most civil online community. To find our forums, click:

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