Vibrant and Food-Friendly Red Wines From Languedoc: Terrasses du Larzac
Many years ago, in our Sommelier-Conseil class, we were lucky to be among wine lovers with all kinds of backgrounds and interests, a few of which introduced us to several unique and qualitative appellations in the Languedoc. Thanks to them, we discovered wines of i.a. Saint-Chinian, Faugères, Pic Saint-Loup and Terrasses du Larzac, and they opened our eyes to the overall quality and value these represent. So when more recently an invitation for a Terrasses du Larzac tasting and dinner fell into my mailbox, I didn’t hesitate.
Terrasses du Larzac has been a full-fledged AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) for less than 10 years, but its vineyards and winemaking history go way back, to centuries before the 1980s, when the area became part of the Coteaux du Languedoc. Only red wines are allowed in the appellation and they have to be blends of at least 3 grape varieties: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and/or Carignan, with some other, secondary grape varieties such as Cinsault.
The area continues to surprise me with the overall high quality of their wines, balancing ripeness of fruit with freshness and vibrancy, accomplished due to local cooling influences and a high diurnal range. And the recognition of the appellation seems to have given a fresh impetus to the region, with newer and older winemakers learning from one another and pushing each other towards a consistently high quality.
The thirty-ish wines we tasted more than confirmed this: these are interesting, excellent and food-friendly reds. As a bonus: around three quarters of production comes from organic viticulture. Also, which is very refreshing in this day ad age: most wines showed restrained alcohol levels of 13 or 13.5%. And even those with slightly higher alcohol levels were balanced and had an element of freshness and vibrancy to them.
We discovered the wines in the presence of some of the winemakers, which is always both fun and highly educational. Then finishing the evening with a dinner, during which we paired the wines with a range of dishes prepared by the team of La Cave à Manger – Winery Brugmann, where the event took place. Interesting pairings for sure, especially with the hearty, savoury meat dishes, which showed once again the gastronomic potential of Terrasses du Larzac’s wines.
A wine region worthy of further exploration, for sure!
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