Quick feed on some fresh young wines from Southern France- the area that sometimes includes Languedoc-Roussillon, the Pyrenees, South West parts of what you may know as the area where Armagnac is made (but not north enough to touch Bordeaux), Provence and Southern Rhone. Besides Provence, most of these regions don’t have the same capital or international presence. This is partly because the AOCs are pretty restrictive and the growers either don’t make wine that fits regulations or are outside of the designated area (or both). A lot of the wine is made and drank locally only. Most of the wines listed below are made by independent growers not under AOC (young and old alike), but are gaining interest from natural wine importers and restaurants involved in the Slow Food movement, generally lots of younger people but overall those who are curious. I’m not interested in calling this a cult following because it implies all kinds of other things, so I’ll just say that these are getting more appreciation because the wines are delicious and alive. So if you can find them, try them.
Domaine Rivaton, Blanc Bec, 2015 (Vin de pays des côtes Catalanes)
Age des vignes : 80 ans
Issu d’un assemblage de 50% Macabéo, 30% Carignan blanc, 15% de Grenache gris et 5% divers. Vinification et élevage in barrel. Drank after dinner at Bistro du Fromager, Nice. Angular, ridgy fruit, draws weight out, minerality keeps it in check.
La Croix Gratiot, “Désir Blanc”, 2015 (Montagnac)
Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne et Muscat Petit Grain, all vinified separately.
Intensely aromatic, substantial body, gentle acidity. Picked up at a market in Menton. Pretty yummy with socca.
Domaine de l’Ausseil, “P’tit Piaf”, 2015 (Roussillon)
Muscat and Macabeo harvested early, macerated as whole bunches, fermented in stainless steel and vinified sur lie. Fresh, floral, and friendly.
Les Vignes d’Olivier, Rond Rouge, 2015 (Argelliers, Languedoc)
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah
Produced by 27 year old Olivier Cohen, originally from Nice. Heard he also makes a delicious rosé . Drank at La Part des Anges, Nice. Tart, juicy, hearty, sensual. On point.
La Roche Buissiere, “Prémices”, 2015 (Cotes du Rhône)
100% Grenache de-stemmed, fermented for 15 days in barrel then 6-8 months in concrete. Drank with dinner at Bistro du Fromager, Nice. Tasty fruit hubba hubba.
Domaine Gramenon, Les Laurentides, 2014 (Cotes du Rhône)
100% Grenache. 50 year old vines. Aged in oak foudres, unfiltered. Farming old school style, including all crops and animals.
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