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The Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France has become increasingly popular with wine lovers because of the diversity of its styles and its affordable price-points. In terms of value, today's selection can't be beat, as these wines range in price from $12 to $15. Depending on the grape and the producer, Languedoc whites can be minerally with snappy acidity, or full-bodied and bursting with ripe fruit. The reds mostly rely on the region's usual suspects—Grenache and Syrah, among others—with some noteworthy outliers, which we'll discover here.
FAMILLE ICHÉ Pays d'Hérault Les Hérétiques 2017 Score: 88 | $12
This red shows a fresh and focused profile, offering pure black cherry, currant and zesty flavors, with accents of anise and mineral. Moderate, integrated tannins give structure to the briary finish. Carignan. Drink now through 2022. 2,200 cases imported.—Gillian Sciaretta
Languedoc reds are typically blends, but this version from Famille Iché showcases just one local grape: Carignan. The region has seen a slight uptick in single-variety Carignan bottlings. The grape does well in warm climates, expressing rich fruit and sometimes rustic tannins.
GEORGES DUBOEUF Pinot Noir Pays d'Oc 2017 Score: 87 | $12
Juicy and bright, featuring flavors of wild cherry and currant mixed together with spice, dried herb and mineral. Light-bodied and fresh, offering tangy acidity and modest tannins. Drink now through 2020. 1,755 cases imported.—G.S.
Beaujolais powerhouse Georges Duboeuf (and now the second generation) built on the estate's Gamay-fueled success and has ventured into the Languedoc with a range of wines, notably this great-value Pinot Noir. The grape isn't the region's workhorse, but there are some juicy versions worth discovering, mostly labeled under the catch-all appellations of Pays d'Oc and Vin de France.
MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC Pays d'Hérault Moulin de Gassac Guilhem 2017 Score: 87 | $13
A focused, light- to medium-bodied red, with currant, crushed cherry and underbrush flavors flanked by tangy acidity. Spice and white pepper notes detail the mineral-tinged finish. Light tannins. Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Drink now through 2020. 29,166 cases made.—G.S.
Established in the 1970s, Mas de Daumas Gassac pioneered the drive toward high-quality, non-bulk wine in the Languedoc. The estate is known for its kitchen-sink blends, notably the red grand vin based on Cabernet Sauvignon. Moulin de Gassac is their second label.
DOMAINES PAUL MAS Grenache Noir-Syrah-Carignan Languedoc Réserve 2017 Score: 87 | $15
A fresh, licorice-tinged red, with plump strawberry and cherry notes edged with mineral, herb and pepper accents. Features a tangy, moderately tannic finish. Drink now through 2020. 500 cases imported.—G.S.
The Paul Mas company owns close to 20 different brands in the Languedoc. Domaines Paul Mas is the flagship, always delivering great value across terroirs in the region. The herb and spice flavors in this bottling make it a great pairing for grilled meats.
CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN Languedoc Terrasses du Frigoulet 2017 Score: 87 | $14
An inky, plush red, with blueberry reduction and cherry ganache flavors that have a smoky, singed herb undertone. Hints of mineral and fresh earth trail into the moderate finish. Carignan, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2021. 750 cases imported.—G.S.
Cave de Roquebrun was created in 1967 and is based in St.-Chinian, but makes dozens of different cuvées in and around the area. This Terrasses du Frigoulet red also puts the spotlight on Carignan, supported by Grenache and Mourvèdre, giving an inky and earthy quality to the wine.
LOUIS & CHERRY BARRUOL Pays d'Oc White Little James' Basket Press 2017 Score: 86 | $14
An orange zest flavor edges the lemon, chive and capsicum notes of this zippy, light- to medium-bodied white, with spice, cantaloupe and mineral accents on the finish. Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Drink now. 3,900 cases imported.—G.S.
The Barruols are better known for Château de St.-Cosme, a leading producer in the Rhône Valley, based in Gigondas. Little James' Basket Press is a fun side project. The white version's grapes are sourced from the Pays d'Oc, and showcases the unlikely marriage between Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
CHÂTEAU FONT-MARS Picpoul de Pinet 2017 Score: 86 | $13
Fresh and spicy, with white pepper, green herb and salty notes lining the citrus and gooseberry fruit. Snappy finish. Drink now. 1,700 cases imported.—G.S.
Picpoul de Pinet is the new cool wine for fans of light, refreshing whites. Picpoul is the name of the grape and Pinet is a small region just off the Thau lagoon. These wines are a great match for oysters and other seafood, showing briny, spicy, herbal and citrus qualities.
FAMILLE ICHÉ Minervois Château d'Oupia 2015 Score: 86 | $14
A savory red, with an earth-tinged edge marking the cherry, currant and peppery spice flavors. Details of graphite and licorice mark the herbal finish. Drink now through 2020. 1,500 cases imported.—G.S.
The Minervois appellation is considered to be one of the premium areas of the Languedoc to make wine, along with Faugères, Corbières and others. This example from Famille Iché's Château d'Oupia is a steal at just $14.
Source : https://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/8-Languedoc-Value-Wines-56902