My first trip to the Languedoc did not go as I expected. Rather than piercing deep into an unknown, unexplored realm, I instead felt a strange, through-the-looking-glass sense of homecoming. The Languedoc’s craggy hills and wild friche, while a world away from the climate of Vouvray or Chablis, resembled uncannily the scattered Chaparral that
No. 4 was the 2015 Cuvée Carlan from Mas Jullien, a bright, balanced and structured blend of 60 percent grenache, 30 percent cinsault and a mixture of other varieties in the remainder.
The story throughout the south of France for the 2018 growing season was similar: an inordinate amount of rainfall from February through June engendered a rash of mildew that had growers scrambling, treating between five and ten times as much as usual in many instances. The weather pulled an immediate about-face in July, turning remarkably hot and remarkably dry—conditions which persisted until harvest. This whiplash effect stressed both vines and vignerons, to be sure, but happily the quality of the rosés from Provence is generally outstanding in 2018. The higher amount of rainfall led to rosés not burdened by unwelcome heaviness due to hyper-low yields, but the dryness of the latter part of the growing season prevented a sense of dilution in the final wines. In general, the 2018 rosés from the south of France display impeccable balance, superb drinkability, and a streak of classicism that sets them above the 2017s.
For those who think these wines are a tad expensive, consider this: that harvest levels are sometimes as low as 20 hectolitres per hectare at these two Mas. Reflect on that when you are considering village level white Burgundy at $600+ per case (rendement frequently 50 to 60 hl/ha). Organic?
LANGUEDOC AND CORBIERES …. LANGUEDOCA huge variety of terroirs exist within the Languedoc’s vastness, and one particularly great one is having its moment: the Terrasses du Larzac, a zone just north of Montpellier and inland from the Mediterranean. The number of wine-producing domaines there has ballooned from 30 to 110 over the past decade, as
Olivier Jullien‘s rosé, from the craggy high-altitude vineyards of the Terrasses du Larzac, sits alongside Chateau Pradeaux and Chateau Simone in that very slim category of rosés that improve and develop with a few years of bottle age. Whereas, saignée rosés sometimes suffer from heaviness and unnecessary fruit weight, Olivier’s offers the same fresh, lifted