Here are two very good wines, both from the Languedoc region of
southern France, both costing about $23 retail, and each showing subtle
differences in style. Though theyâ€™re not from the same vintage, the terroir is similar and recognizable, but the style of winemaking shows through.
First is the Ermitage du Pic St. Loup, CuvĂ©e Sainte AgnĂ¨s 2005 CĂ´teaux du Languedoc,
imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants in Berkeley, California. It is
fresh and herbaceous, with herbal notes of the â€œgarrigueâ€ â€“ sage
and thyme, especially â€“ and an appealing citrusy note of orange peel. I
suspect no new oak in this wine, just concrete vat fermentation and
perhaps some aging in â€œneutralâ€ barrels to give texture. I havenâ€™t
yet called the importer to verify my impression, but that is how the
wine tastes. The 2006 of this wine ranked 57th in La Revue du Vin de France’s list of the 100 best reds of the Languedoc, in the magazine’s July/August issue.
Second is the Castelmaure Grande CuvĂ©e 2006 â€œVendages Humaines,â€
whatever that means. Itâ€™s imported by Kysela PĂ¨re et Fils of
Winchester, Virginia. Heavier and slightly higher in alcohol (14.5%
compared to 14% for the Pic St. Loup), it shows the same garrigue
and herbal flavors, but with more body and weight. This wine should
appeal to consumers who prefer California wines â€“ but I do not mean
that the wine tastes Californian or â€œNew Worldâ€ in style. Itâ€™s
just a little different.
Both very good wines. Similar flavors, slight but noticeable
differences in style. Delicious expressions of the Languedoc â€¦ and
just what wine is all about.