Wine Speak

Wines from the south­ern­most French ap­pel­la­tion are trend­ing again, thanks to dar­ing young wine­mak­ers and char­ac­ter­ful wines made to fall in love with

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - News -

Wines from Langue­doc are trend­ing again, and there are plenty of mod­ern bot­tles to covet and col­lect

Is it the new Bordeaux or Bur­gundy? A cou­ple decades ago, the world’s big­gest wine-pro­duc­ing re­gion of Langue­docrous­sil­lon might have been happy to claim so, but to­day it is proud to be Langue­doc, the new world of French wines that’s slowly for­sak­ing its vin de ta­ble rep­u­ta­tion.

“It used to be the ‘wine fac­tory’ of France, but the sit­u­a­tion has changed dra­mat­i­cally,” notes Boon Heng from Wein & Vin. “Top French pro­duc­ers such as Michel Cases of Lynch Bages (Bordeaux) and Anne Gros (Bur­gundy) have recog­nised that there are good ter­roirs there. Langue­doc’s pro­duc­ers are more relaxed and warm hearted. It’s quite com­mon to be wel­comed to dine with the fam­ily or stay in the es­tate. As a re­gion, it’s a charm­ing but rugged out­back with gar­rigues (scrub­lands) and low-ly­ing hills.”

Free­dom came with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Vins de Pays cat­e­gory in the 1980s, which al­lowed pro­duc­ers more con­trol over grape va­ri­etals and where to plant, out­side of the French Ap­pel­la­tion d’orig­ine Protégée (AOP) )—for­merly Ap­pel­la­tion d’orig­ine Con­trôlée (Aoc)—rules.

To gain more per­spec­tive, we turned to Basile Guib­ert, the youngest son of Veronique and Aime Guib­ert of Mas de Dau­mas Gas­sac, one of the pi­o­neer­ing fam­i­lies of the “grower” style Langue­doc which started in 1972. He hap­pens to be based in Sin­ga­pore as the com­pany’s am­bas­sador to Asia, although he and his three broth­ers are firmly stew­ards of their fully or­gan­i­cally farmed vine­yards, some 52 small plots among 3,000 hectares of pro­tected for­est.

“French reg­u­la­tions ex­ist to pro­tect the con­sumers and en­hance a vi­sion of a spe­cific ter­roir with a spe­cific set of rules. But what if you’re a French wine­maker who wishes to cre­ate some­thing unique, that has a story or a style that goes be­yond what an AOP la­bel al­lows? Then you have to look at what has hap­pened in Langue­doc across 30 years where the great­est wines (Roc d’anglade, Granges des Pères, Mas de Dau­mas Gas­sac) haven’t gone the ap­pel­la­tions path,” en­thuses Guib­ert. “This bold de­ci­sion al­lowed us free­dom and cre­ativ­ity: to cre­ate grands vins with 25 grape va­ri­eties; to cre­ate a style so unique that tak­ing Mas de Dau­mas Gas­sac to a blind tast­ing is the wine lover’s favourite trump card!”

The in­tro­duc­tion of the Vins de Pays cat­e­gory in the 1980s opened the doors to more unique, qual­ity ex­pres­sions of the va­ri­etals that thrive in the Langue­doc re­gion

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