It’s not often I review foreign wine, so when I do I always like to insert a little bit about the region. This Gris de Gris hails from France’s Languedoc-Roussilon AOC, which spans along the Mediterranean coastline, from the southern border with Spain up toward France’s region of Provence. In total, the AOC has about 700,000 acres planted to vines and is one of the biggest wine-producing regions in the world.
The terrain and climate characteristics are similar to that of the Southern Rhône region (located to the north and slightly west of Languedoc) and Provence (located to the north, arching toward the east along the Mediterranean Ocean.) Thus, the whole of the Languedoc-Roussillon region produces a wide variety of grapes and wine styles — from your classic “Bordeaux” varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc) to your typical Rhône varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Viognier).
There are several appellations and sub-appellations within Languedoc that, for the most part, were originally separated based more on politics than wine-related reasons — though this seems to be changing even as we speak. However, a lot of wines from this area will still simply state “Languedoc” without any other regional or varietal information on the bottle.
On the whole, the Languedoc regions seems to be –what? — undiscovered or under-appreciated? There are quality wines coming from the AOC that are a lot more affordable than some of France’s other notable regions. I guess, for now, let’s not question it, let’s just go with it. And let’s go with it with this Gris de Gris.
This past week I featured a series of California Rhone wines in conjunction with my recently published article for Edible Communities entitled Where we Rhone. This article explores the history of Rhone varietals in California and features both iconic and up-and-coming local Rhone-centric winemakers. I’ve also included a brief Rhone wine 101 sidebar, explaining the French origin and breaking down the most common varietals. Have a read, brush up on your Rhone wine 101, and then check out a few individual California Rhone wine reviews featured here on my site.
Crémant de Bourgogne – it’s the the designation for the sparkling wines of Burgundy, which is primarily known for single-varietal, still wines only. Here, in this self-proclaimed bubbly “oasis” winemakers can, shall we say, “break the rules,” and combine various varietals to create sparkling wines. Bonus points: because these sparkles aren’t technically Champagne (though most are, indeed, made in the methode champenoise), these come at a much more affordable price point (typically between $15 and $30). So pop the cork in celebration of — what day of the week is it that you’re reading this? Yes, cheers to a random day of the week!
Warning: This introduction contains a bit of personal information. I was never a huge fans of rosés until I started writing about wine. Through my studies and various opportunities to taste rosés made from different varietals, made in different styles, and — of course — from different regions, I can now edit that fact to state that I am quite picky about rosés. Similar are my feelings about bubbles. I rarely had opportunity in the past to have them; when I did, they all pretty much tasted the same. I’ve hesitated to write about them because they are, in fact, a whole different wine-making game.
But here I am working an a sparkling wine series, and lo, here is a wine that combines two things I’ve been iffy about in the past — a sparkling rosé. Spoiler alert: the Parigot Crémant Rosé past this skeptics taste test…
Limoux is an appellation of southern France’s Languedoc region. In an area that’s primarily focused on the production of red wine, Limoux is considered somewhat of a “sparkling wine oasis.” Here, bubbles are crafted using the methode traditionelle or methode champenoise (aka the traditional Champagne method), but this Antech-Limoux Cuvée Brut Nature is an interesting take on that sparkling wine tradition, blending together a few non-traditional varietals…