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Two Rhone and a Languedoc-Roussillon: Red Wines from Southern France

While most vinophiles will gravitate to Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France for the high priced and highly recognized wines from those regions.  I seem to be more focused on the three regions on or near the Mediterranean coast: Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and Côte due Rhone.  These wines are much more approachable as well as affordable yet full of complexity.

Getting into French wine can be difficult for some as it is not as straightforward as our American wines. As I have mentioned before most French wines are blended with at least two varietals of grapes from the same region or AOC.   So some guidance will be required  as you navigate your way into France.

And please let me be clear, I know drinking these specific French wines may be a challenge for those who do not live in the Charleston area.  But I hope that you can and will take this information in a general sense and apply it to your local area.  I never want to be that wine guy that talks about a wine you can not find.  In the least you can find similar wines from the same region.  For example the Les Pierres du Vallat * Gigondas 2012 below.  It may be hard to find unless you order online but I promise you that I have drank several wines from Gigondas and they have all been spectacular.  So please use this information to be a resource to give you the confidence to try something new.  How to do that…. see below

Find your store

I highly recommend finding a store with a broad swath of French wines available.  Then go in and talk to the proprietor and tell them what your favorite wines are and ask him to recommend something similar from this region or that region of France. This will open you up to some amazing and affordable wines.  Don’t be timid because doing so can begin your trek through the France for between $12.00 and $25.00 a bottle and you can have a ball.

NOTE:  These three wines were not all drank on the same day.  So there will not be any comparisons between them.

Les Pierres du Vallat Gigondas 2012
Les Pierres du Vallat
Gigondas 2012

Vignerons de Caractère * Les Pierres du Vallat * Gigondas 2012

When we all first took our first sip of this Gigondas we all moaned.  Then words like “special”, “smooth”, “balanced”, “love it”, “velvet” and more flowed from our mouths.  This is a wine that we were all going to enjoy.  We could just tell we were in for a treat. It is very welcoming and can be enjoyed with or without food.  There is great balance with soft tannins and hints of berries.  This wine would also be great when eating dark chocolate.   You can get this wine online from for $19.99 per bottle and if you get 6 bottles (mix or match) it ships for free.  Locally, we found this wine at The Wine Shop on Lockwood.

The winemaker says:  A powerful and complex nose dominated by dense notes of black fruits and spices. A great flexibility in the mouth expressing material and roundness. It is a subtle and intense Gigondas.

85% Grenache, 15% Syrah

Gigondas AOC in Southern Rhone

My Bottom Line: Buy this wine!

Gigondas Rhone Red Wine

Mas de Daumas Gassac* Pont de Gassac Rouge 2013

Languedoc red wine
Mas de Daumas Gassac* Pont de Gassac Rouge 2013

Intensely dark color. Medium-light bodied.  The nose is of dark stone fruits. Balanced tannins that are not over the top.  It is a little smoky with notes of black plums, ripe red fruit and then blueberry on the back end.  Powerful and a long finish with hints of peppery spice.

This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah. From the winemaker:  This wine expresses the Guibert family philosophy, winemaker of the Daumas Gassac Grand Cru wines, to create balanced wines from small single-vineyard plots cultivated in harmony with nature.

Found locally at The Wine Shop on Lockwood or at various online merchants with $100 minimum orders.

Languedoc red wine

Château Saint Cosme * Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2015

Cote du Rhone Red Wine
Château Saint Cosme * Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2015

This wine also has a dark and intense color with a rim of ripe purple plum color.  The winemaker refers to is as “oxblood” which can be off-putting but don’t let that stop you. this wine needs to breathe for a long while to allow the air to soften the tannins.  It has an intense floral nose.  It is dry on the tongue.  We tasted black fruits like blackberry, black cherry with a dusty, slate finish.  I would definitely only serve this wine with food like red meat, hearty stews, Bolognese pasta or strong in your face cheeses.

This wine is 100& Syrah.  The winemaker says:  Welcome to 2015, the finest vintage since 2010. Look for Black currant, camphor, truffle, rose and blueberry in this wine.

Found locally at The Wine Shop on Lockwood or at various online merchants with $100 minimum orders.

Cote du Rhone Red Wine





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