Is the Languedoc the most under rated wine region in France?  I kind of think it might be.  It certainly is under appreciated.  Kind of like the Loire, but more so perhaps.  Like the Loire, it is home to a number of diverse wine growing areas and the wines tend to be pretty good value for money.  Also like many of the wines of the Loire, many wines from the Languedoc (or Languedoc-Roussillon as it is officially known) also deliver some pretty amazing flavor profiles.  International grape varietals are planted here, but the Rhone varietal grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, etc.) are the real attractions in the red department.  There are many sub regions in the Languedoc, but the five most well known appellations include:  Coteaux du Languedoc, Corbières, Faugères, Minervois, and Saint-Chinian.  The red wines of the Languedoc regions of Saint Chinian and Corbieres that I tried on this occasion were marked by layered dark fruit with hints of animal and earth.  A winning combination.

I have written about a few other wines from the Languedoc before, you can link to those postings here, but one of my favorites producers has always been Domaine des 2 Anes.  I reckoned their “Fontanilles” bottling the best wine value out there at the $15 price point.  The next step up is the “L’Enclos” (50% Grenache Noir, 20% Carignan, 20 % Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah), which is equally a value at just over $20.  A fantastic wine, extremely drinkable now, but with the potential to age well too.  This is a producer you cannot go wrong with.  The Domaine Rimbert was a new find.  Like Domaine des 2 Anes, this wine is part of the Jenny & Francois portfolio.  The “Les Mas au Schiste” is another sublime blend comprised of 40% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 25% Grenache, Mourvèdre 5%.  It is, as its name implies, grown on schist, a rock based soil that retains heat well and is rich in magnesium and potassium but  poor in organic nutrients and nitrogen.  Both Domaine Rimbert and Domaine des 2 Anes are natural wines, like all the wines in the Jenny & Francois portfolio.  Natural growing methods + indigenous yeasts + minimal intervention = good stuff.

Domaine Rimbert 2007 “Le Mas au Schiste” Saint Chinian – $19.99

Medium red garnet, this blend of Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache is a melange of rhubarb, cranberry, tart red fruit, and a hint of furry pepper spice.  There is good solid acidity, moderate tannins, and great lift in this medium bodied wine.  It remains light on its feet as it opens and picks up weight.  The blueberry and blackberry notes emerge but are tempered by the consistent fresh lift.  It is refreshing yet delicious.  Purchased at Astor Wines.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Domaine des 2 Anes 2007 “L’Enclos” Corbieres – $21.99

Deep garnet and lavender hued, the “L’Enclos” bottling is smoke, fur, blackberry jam, and beef jerky rolled into one.  It’s a minced pie of a wine, and while it is dark and brambly it is never heavy or jammy.  It is exotic and rich with spice, it coats the palate, but the acidity glides it through a solid mid palate and nice finish.  The wine is at once very drinkable and food friendly.  Delicious and different.  Purchased at Astor Wines.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – GREAT VALUE