Finally summer is here and the smell of the grillade wafting through our little village over the weekend has triggered an annual event that I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing — the moment our taste buds cry out for chilled crisp whites and a plethora of pinks. The big ballsy reds that we so readily quaff at any other time of the year now make as much sense as hot soup in the Seychelles!
The rosés of Provence, with their pale colour and elegant palate, are a must-have, and their success has triggered a whole new movement in rosé. In 2015 the Languedoc sold more rosé than anywhere else in France for the first time ever.
At last the region’s whites and rosés are being taken seriously. An old vigneron once told me that we don’t make notable whites in this region and that rosé is not serious, but just a bit of fun.
All of this is changing, and the young generation of vignerons are trailblazing on an adventure with new wine styles (IGP classifications allow single grape varietal wines and the use of non AOP classified varieties) and also the return to some of the region’s old and forgotten grapes. Get out there and start trying a Bourboulenc or a Macabeu, Vermentino, Terret, Aramon or a Picpoul de Pinet (a regional favourite with oysters).
The blend of diverse grapes and even more diverse terroirs means that now is an exciting time for our region's whites and rosés. Unlike the whites of Burgundy, our whites are predominantly made to be drunk young, and often a bargain can be found on buying bottles that are entering their second year. The general rule of most producers is to offer both unoaked whites (great for apéros or seafood) and more full-bodied oak-aged varieties created for the table and serious dishes requiring something with a bit more weight.
Languedoc wines tend to use French oak barrels (subtler in flavour than their American counterparts) and even pre-used barrels, offering an even gentler ageing process. Either way, the emphasis is on the taste of the wine and not the barrel, as often found with some sickly over-oaked new world whites of yesteryear. A perfect example of this Languedoc style is the outstanding Chardonnay from the Limoux area, enabling you to discover what the Chardonnay grape really tastes like.
If all of this isn’t enough, then try a cold Muscat from Saint-Jean-de- Minervois in the Hérault. A sweet white like no other, thanks to its mineral/schist-type soil and an average altitude of 469 metres, resulting in a floral sweet white with good acidity and minerality.
For more info onTaste du Languedoc, visit www.tastedulanguedocwinetours. com, or find us on Facebook at Inspiré Azille.