Regional wines


Get ready for sticker-shock:
The same delectable Burgundy you’d buy in the States for $40 a bottle sells for $10 in a French supermarket.
Viva that difference!

It has been said that if the Languedoc-Roussillon region of French were an independent country, it would be the world’s fifth-largest wine producer. What soy beans are to the American midwest, grapes are to this part of France.
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You’ll find wines to taste and purchase at the sign of the "cave," pronounced "cahv," French for cellar.
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Once dismissed as France’s "wine lake," producing the lowest sort of table wine, the Hérault has undergone a quality revolution in the past two decades. By the 1980s, wines crafted here were on the radar of discerning critics. Oz Clarke: "This is the heart of the Brave New World of [French] wine-making...." And things have just gotten better every year. Local wines now attract favorable mention in Wine Spectator and fill a high-quality, low-cost niche for American wine importers.     

Most of the region’s wines are red. The largest appellation contrôlée (AC) is Côteaux du Languedoc. Other regional ACs include Faugères, Saint-Chinian, Corbières and Minervois.
      For an intimate introduction to the region’s best and most innovative vintners, browse Wines and Vineyards of Character and Charm in France, from Fodor’s (you’ll find a copy in the library in our house). You’ll read about a dozen tempting vineyards within a short drive of Valros. Try the Faugères Syrah from Château des Estanilles, just north of Béziers, run by noted fuss-budget Michel Louison. Extraordinary pepper and chocolate.     

All supermarkets sell wine, but the smaller dealers have the choicest selections. There are three intriguing wine stores in Pézenas. For a special experience try Le Nez dans le Verre (The nose in the glass), 10, av Emile Combes, 04 67 09 47 67. They have a wonderful website (in French, but it's easy to follow along): www.lndvlr.com 

Links
  • www.cavesdefrance.com -- Take that, California upstarts! An exhaustive and delightful overview of French vineyards, in both French and English. Includes a magazine, wine routes, food tips, and wines of the month, often featuring Languedoc and other area offerings.
  • www.faugeres.com  -- a great site, focused on this AOC; includes lists of vintners who sell direct, an excellent description of wine-making techniques, and annotated tours of the region
  • www.languedoc-wines.com/english  -- good overview site
  • www.chateau-montpezat.com --  A Pézenas winery that has won critical acclaim from the likes of Robert Parker. In English.


This web page is from Our House In France, ( http://ourhouseinfrance.com/ss_plugins/content/content.php?content.303 ) Posted: Tue, Feb 28, 2006 - 12:00am