We have worked with Jean-Claude Zabalia for decades, so he knows better than almost anyone what we look for in red blends from the Languedoc. A well-respected, well-connected vigneron, Jean-Claude is able to source exactly the grapes we desire to blend this rouge at the local cave coopérative. Made from Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and a splash of Cinsault from outstanding, high-elevation, schist terroirs in Cabrières, this chewy, medium-bodied red packs as much class as some southern reds several times its price.
Attention, lovers of Bandol! Forty minutes due north of Montpellier, Cyriaque Rozier applies organic and biodynamic farming methods to the domaine’s sixty-year-old Mourvèdre vines to make this classy rouge, which also contains a little Syrah and Grenache. Dense and structured, but plush and refined as well, the 2017 Mourvèdre possesses irresistible notes of dark fruit, cocoa, and coffee beans.
The appellation of Montpeyroux does not have any official grands crus, but Domaine d’Aupilhac’s Les Cocalières is certainly worthy of such distinction. This volcanic amphitheater, made up of basalt, raw limestone, and marine fossils, is perched high above the town of Montpeyroux and had lain essentially untouched until the inquisitive Sylvain Fadat started to plant vines there in 1999. The move was a stroke of genius, as Fadat’s bottlings from this terroir have proven to be among the most complex and elegant wines of southern France. Savory in a similar way to the reds of Saint-Joseph, the Cocalières rouge evokes black olive, lavender, and roasted game. If you can, cellar some bottles to try over the next twenty years.
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