Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Drinking Wine in Carcassonne

It had been my plan to sample quite a bit of wine here in Carcassonne but we both came down with bad colds in Paris and it has restricted our consumption. Carcassonne is in the French Department of Aude. The region produces a lot of good wine.

Some we see in Saskatchewan, some not. This is not a complete list.

La Clape
I guess we can understand why this particular wine doesn’t seem to have been marketed in North America. Nevertheless, La Clape’s  red wines are produced from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that they say combines both elegance and power. Situated less than four miles from the coast, the Mediterranean climate of long hot summers and relative mild winters provides the goodconditions for wine production.

A neighbour of La Clape, wedged between Narbonne to the North and the Etang de Bages lagoon to the south It is a small appellation that produces red wine from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes.

Fitou is a large red wine appellation situated North of Perpignan in Roussillon, France. The dominant vine variety is Carignan which constitutes 40% of any blend. Grenache, Llandoner Pelut, Mourvèdre and Syrah are also often blended with it. These wines are made for drinking young, and quite a bit of tannin. We had one the other night and quite liked it.

This wine region is located within a triangle formed in-between Beziers, Carcassonne and Narbonne. The region is hilly and the soil is good. If you prefer full-bodied reds a Minervois from a high altitude vineyard is a good choice.

Saskatchewan used to carry one red but I think the stopped bringing it in. I quite like it.

Blanquette de Limoux
Limoux is best known for its sparkling wine, Blanquette de Limoux. This is reputed to be the oldest sparkling wine in France and dates back to 1531 when Benedictine monks from Saint Hilaire Abbey discovered that the wine they had laid down had fermented and formed bubbles. They claim that as a young monk Dom Perignon lived there for a while and that he stole the process and went on from that to create ‘Champagne‘.

Coteaux de Languedoc
The AOC Coteaux du Languedoc appellation has covers an area between Nimes and Narbonne and benefits from the sunny climate of the Herault, The rich soils produce a good grape, We are beginning to see the odd one in Saskatchewan stores.

The Malepere appellation area is the most westerly of Languedoc wine regions. The wines are produced in an area situated south west of Carcassonne. They produce a mixture of different grape varieties are planted. They combine the strength, smoothness and depth of flavour of red fruits, spices, plus hints of soft vanilla. They say a perfect accompaniment to Cassoulet, red meats game or cheese.. The name looked to me like it could be translated as “Bad Father” but the Pere reference in the name actually refers to “Pierre” of stones or rocks and refers to the rocky soil in the area.

One of the most productive appellations in Languedoc-Roussillon, The Corbieres appellation covers a large area to the south and west of Narbonne. The vineyards turn out large quantities of red and rose wines along with a growing number of whites.   I wish we saw more of it.

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