Antonin Coteaux du Languedoc
AC, Grès Saint Paul, 2018
The nose is intensive and dominated by prune, pepper, black olives and some roasted aromas. The wine seduces with a pleasant fruitiness that accompany the palate long into the finish. The tannins are throughout noticeable and make this wine the perfect companion of rustic and rich meals.
France – Philosophy in a bottle
According to French philosophy, wine should be an expression of the soil and climate. They use the word “terroir” to describe this. Terroir makes every wine different, and many especially good. French wine is regarded worldwide as an expression of cultural perfection. The French believe that humans are responsible for the quality of the berries, the vine variety for their character, and nature for the quantity. This philosophy can be expressed succinctly as: “the truth is the vineyard, not the man.”
Languedoc and Roussillon: the wine-giant of the south
The largest contiguous wine region of France begins on the west bank of the Rhône River, stretching more than 240 kilometres to the west to Banyuls-sur-Mer, on the border with Spain. The area is an inexhaustible reservoir of corpulent wines from international varieties, but the top crus from this region come from various regional appellations, where long-established varieties such as Carignan and Grenache (red) and Picpoul and Bourboulenc (white) yield extraordinarily characterful wines.
Coteaux du Languedoc
Coteaux du Languedoc: classics of the south
The highly interesting appellation of Coteaux du Languedoc incorporates the traditionally prestigious wines of Languedoc. The approximately 10,000 hectares are spread over more than 140 communities, and are planted exclusively with the traditional grape varieties that first established the reputation of Languedoc wines. The Coteaux du Languedoc designation (today also called AOC du Languedoc) is thus a guarantor of authentic wines from the Midi.
Grenache seldom comes alone
Spaniards and Sardinians make the Grenache contentious: both claim it originated from their country. In fact, it had already appeared in both places by the 16th century. But a large number of mutations in Spain indicates that it has deeper roots on the Iberian Peninsula. The Grenache is meaty and spicy, with a wonderful, fruity sweetness and rich aromas of blackberry, cassis, plums and pepper. Under the name Garnacha, it contributes fullness to the Rioja. In Sardinia it is called Cannonau, where it yields strong, expressive wines. But its stronghold is in France. Grenache is the star in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and streams into many other assemblages from the south. Its preferred partners are Syrah and Mourvèdre. This blend is also very popular abroad. In Australia, these wines are simply called "GSM".
It cannot be hot enough for the Monastrell grape. It grows around the Mediterranean, where the summers are long and hot and the winters mild. At only 200 metres in elevation, or 80 kilometres from the coast, its grapes have problems ripening. It was likely born in the Valencia region. According to written records, it was already counted among the most important varieties in 1460. Its exact origin is thought to be the Camp de Morvedre area. From there, it migrated in the 17th century to Provence, where it was christened Mourvèdre. Its wines are deeply dark, with intense blackberry aromas, rich tannins and moderate acidity. They enter into the most beautiful harmonies with other varieties from the south, such as Garnacha, Carignan or Syrah. The Mourvèdre is the main ingredient of red wines of Bandol; it also flows into the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. On the Spanish Levante coast, it is also pressed solo.
A hint of pepper
The legend stubbornly persists that the Syrah variety came from the Persian city of Shiraz. Yet, researchers have shown that it is a natural crossing of two old French varieties: the red Dureza from the Rhône Valley and the white Mondeuse blanche from Savoy. Wines from Syrah are gentle and concentrated. They smell of dark berries, violets and liquorice, and amaze with a piquant touch of white pepper. As varietal wines, they are found on the northern Rhone, as in the Hermitage or Côte Rôtie appellations, as well as in Swiss Valais. In the southern Rhône Valley, Syrah is often wedded with Grenache and Mourvèdre. In 1832, a Frenchman brought the variety to Australia, where it became the emblem of the national wine industry. There, the weightiest versions develop with typical notes of tar and chocolate.