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2021 Pays d’Oc Cabernet Sauvignon “Les Traverses”

Château Fontanès
Discount Eligible $20.00
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I still recall hearing from Kermit, about fifteen years ago, of his latest find while traveling through the Languedoc. The winemaker at Château La Roque, Cyriaque Rozier, had pulled him aside after tasting through the La Roque range and sheepishly asked if he would like to taste a wine he’d made under his own label from an old-vine parcel of Cabernet Sauvignon he’d recently purchased (just to keep him busy on nights and weekends). They tasted, and I got an enthusiastic phone call shortly thereafter about this Cabernet that had a deep soul and dark garrigue fruit of the Languedoc, with a bright shine and lofty aromatics typical of Cabernet in its ancestral home of Bordeaux. When I noted the price, I did a double take and asked again to be sure I hadn’t heard wrong. It was, and is to this day, a price totally incongruous with the work behind that bottle (biodynamic farming, low yields, minimal intervention winemaking . . . the whole nine yards, if you will). While Cyriaque has since expanded his wines under the Fontanès label, this Cabernet remains the backbone and star of his production, as unique and tasty as it ever was. He also continues to manage La Roque, keeping his Cabernet as his pet project for fun—and a top-value everyday rouge for us.

Chris Santini


Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Vin de Pays d’Oc
Country: France
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
Producer: Château Fontanès
Winemaker: Cyriaque Rozier
Vineyard: Planted in 1970, 5 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone, Marl
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14.2%

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About The Region

Languedoc-Roussillon

map of Languedoc-Roussillon

Ask wine drinkers around the world, and the word “Languedoc” is sure to elicit mixed reactions. On the one hand, the region is still strongly tied to its past as a producer of cheap, insipid bulk wine in the eyes of many consumers. On the other hand, it is the source of countless great values providing affordable everyday pleasure, with an increasing number of higher-end wines capable of rivaling the best from other parts of France.

While there’s no denying the Languedoc’s checkered history, the last two decades have seen a noticeable shift to fine wine, with an emphasis on terroir. Ambitious growers have sought out vineyard sites with poor, well draining soils in hilly zones, curbed back on irrigation and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and looked to balance traditional production methods with technological advancements to craft wines with elegance, balance, and a clear sense of place. Today, the overall quality and variety of wines being made in the Languedoc is as high as ever.

Shaped like a crescent hugging the Mediterranean coast, the region boasts an enormous variety of soil types and microclimates depending on elevation, exposition, and relative distance from the coastline and the cooler foothills farther inland. While the warm Mediterranean climate is conducive to the production of reds, there are world-class whites and rosés to be found as well, along with stunning dessert wines revered by connoisseurs for centuries.

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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174