Languedoc Wines Recently Tasted: Domaine d'Aupilhac/Sylvain Fadat, Mas Champart/Isabelle et Matthieu Champart, Mas de Chimeres/Guilem Dardé, Domaine de Fontsainte/G. et B. Laboucarié, Mas Foulaquier/Blandine et Pierre Jéquier, Clos du Gravillas/Nicole et John Bojankowski, Château du Grand Caumont, Château de Lascaux/J.B. Cavalier, Château La Roque/Sylviane et Bernard Barascud, Les Vignes Oubliées/Jean-Baptiste Granier


You have to do some selecting, but if you do, there's still plenty of with of excellent quality and value from this region in France's Midi. One hint: I avoid the luxury cuvées, as they tend to have a lot of new oak and extraction, which do not work well with the types of grapes grown here.

All wines below are red except as otherwise noted.





Domaine d’AUPILHAC/Sylvain FADAT

Organic and biodynamic farming.

2013 Mont Baudile     Le Carignan
This wine from the Carignan grape is dense with dark berry fruit, creaminess of texture, minerality. You can drink it now, but in 5-7 years, it will be even better. If you want a wine for tomato-based sauces, here’s your choice. 13.5% stated alcohol.  Lot 021201. 90/A 

2013 Montpeyroux — Languedoc     La Boda d’Aupilhac
Made of equal parts of Syrah and Mourvèdre, this wine has Mourvèdre animality in the nose and mouth along with Syrah minerality. The fruit is dark with good density and intensity. There are tannins here here, but not so severe as to prevent drinking with food at the moment. 14% stated alcohol.  92/A

2014 Montpeyroux     Languedoc     Cuvée Aupilhac
From one of my favorite producers in the Languedoc, this wine is 30% Mourvèdre, 25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 16% Grenache, and 4% Cinsault. The wine is medium-weight with good depth to its dark fruits and violets. There’s some tannin to lose with aging, but with sufficiently assertive food, the wine works well now. 13.5% stated alcohol. Lot L 011201. 90/A




Mas CHAMPART/Isabelle et Matthieu CHAMPART

2014 Saint-Chinian    Causse de Bousquet
This wine is about 3/4 from Syrah, the rest from Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan. It is medium-weight, dark in fruit with minerality, and it shows good finesse for the region. You can drink it now or hold for a decade or more. 14.5% stated alcohol. Lot L 16-8. 89/A-

2014 Saint-Chinian    Clos de la Simonette
Here, were at about 2/3 Mourvèdre, with the rest split between Grenache and old-vine Carignan. The wine is deep, dense, and dark in its fruit with just slight hints of Mourvèdre animality. It’s a wine that should pair well with richer foods. Lot L 16-9. 14.5% stated alcohol. 88/B+

2015 Pays d’Oc
This wine is made from about 70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Syrah, and 10% very old vine Carignan. As with so many 2015s from the south of France at this point, this wine is impressive for its richness and balance, but it remains very undeveloped in its dark fruits. Check back in a year or two. 14% stated alcohol. 86+/A-



Mas des CHIMÈRES/Guilhem DARDÉ

2015 Terrasses du Larzac   Nuit Grave
The majority of this wine is from Syrah and Grenache (+/- 40% each) with a little less than 20% Mourvèdre. The wine is medium-weight with dark and red plum fruit in a medium-weight body with some smoothness of texture. Quite pleasant for current drinking and with 8-10(+?) years’ aging potential. Certified organic. 13.5% stated alcohol. 88/B+




Domaine de FONTSAINTE/G. et B. LABOUCARIÉ

2016 Corbières    Gris de Gris   rosé
For the money, it’s hard to do better than this consistently fine rosé. It is light and bone dry with floral and raspberry aromas and flavors. Synthetic cork, so drink young. 12.5% stated alcohol. Lot L17010. 87/A

2015 Corbières     (black label)
This is a delicious, if simple, wine with intense dark plum fruits and a smooth texture, but also some tannin beneath all that fruit so that the wine should be able to take some aging. 13.5% stated alcohol.   87/A-

2014 Corbières   Réserve la Demoiselle
This wine is similar to the regular 2015 above — perhaps a touch more smoky and not quite as powerful (although there is still plenty of power), but with the same spicy dark plum fruit. 14% stated alcohol.  87/A-




Mas FOULAQUIER/Blandine et Pierre JÉQUIER

Not certified biodynamic, as far as I know, but following biodynamic methods. This is an estate that seems to be on the rise.

2014 Pic Saint-Loup    Languedoc     Tonnillières
This is a most attractive wine with violets and roses in the nose and mouth, and a medium-full body. What separates it from the best of Pic Saint-Loup is that instead of the creamy texture typical of most wines I know of the area, this wine has some harshness (which may disappear with aging). The producer’s website gives 10-12 years’ aging potential, and I have no experience to contradict that, but the wine is most attractive to drink now. 30% Caringnan from vines that are 50 years-old, 30% Syrah that is 20 years-old, and 40% Grenache that is 40 years-old. Certified organic and biodynamic. Raised in cement and wood. 13.5% stated alcohol. Lot L60615.  89/A-

2015 Pic Saint-Loup — Languedoc   L’Orphée
L’Orphée is the most forward of the Foulaquier line up. The wine is made half from Grenache, half from Syrah, raised mostly in tank, but some in demi-muid (double-size barriques). This is a medium-weight wine with some of the silky texture of Pic Saint-Loup, mineral red fruit, and good freshness and acidity, as well as nice length. Very good now, should improve in bottle for at least a few years. Certified organic and biodynamic. 13.5% stated alcohol. Lot L 5615.  89/A-



Clos du GRAVILLAS/Nicole et John BOJANKOWSKI

The handful of wines I've had from here have been impressive.

Certified organic.

2014 Minervois   white
From Maccabeu vines that are more than 90 years-old and Granche blanc, this wine is light on the palate with hints of lime, good overall minerality, and a smooth, sensual texture. 13% stated alcohol. 88/A

2014 Côtes du Brian   Hérault     Lo Vièlh
From 100 year-old Carignan vines, this wine is medium-weight with a velvet texture and dark berry and plum fruit. The tannins are quite round, so that the wine drinks well already, but should age for a decade or more. 13.5% stated alcohol. 90/A




Château du GRAND CAUMONT

2013 Corbières     Cuvée Tradition
Ripe, juicy blackberry fruit here in a medium-weight body. Not a lot of complexity or finesse, but fine for what it is and not very expensive. 20% old vine Carignan that is fermented as whole clusters, another 25% young vine Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 15% Grenache is the blend. From the Lézignan sector of Corbières. 13% stated alcohol. 86/B




Château de LASCAUX/J.B. CAVALIER

Always excellent value.  

Certified organic.


2016 Languedoc     Garrigue   white
Lots of minerality here to go with a smooth texture and nice depth and freshness. Excellent value. 50% Vermentino, 30% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne, 10% Viognier. 13.5% stated alcohol. Lot 162501. 88/A

2016 Languedoc    Garrigue   rosé
This wine is light in texture with strawberry fruit, and despite its fruitiness, the finish is dry. A real wine for hot days. 40% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache. 13% stated alcohol. Lot L162703. 87/A

2015 Pic Saint-Loup   Languedoc    Carra
This wine is packed with dark fruits, but it could use a little more precision. The velvet Pic Saint-Loup texture is here, too, but perhaps with a bit more underlying tannin than is usual. Certified organic. 14% stated alcohol. Lot 170507.  88/B+




Château La ROQUE/Sylviane et Bernard BARASCUD


Certified organic, practicing biodynamic methods.


2015 Pic Saint-Loup   Languedoc
Along with Montpeyroux, Pic Saint-Loup is my favorite region in the Languedoc, and this is one of my favorite producers there. This wine is about 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, fermented and aged in cement tank. The result is the typical Pic Saint-Loup satiny texture to go with perfumed dark fruit flavors. There’s enough tannin here to permit several years’ aging, too. This wine is a tremendous value. Certified organic and biodynamic. 13.5% stated alcohol.  91/A





LES VIGNES OUBLIÉES/Jean-Baptiste GRANIER

2015 Vin de France   white
This wine is a mixture of Clairette, Roussane, and Grenache Blanche from small plots at 300-400 meters in altitude, made as a négociant wine here. The result is oily in texture and pleasant with quince fruit and good length and drive. Lot LVOB15. 14% stated alcohol. 86/B+