A couple of months ago I told you about a delicious Provence rosé that I chose to beat the August heat. It’s October now, no longer over 90º, but there’s hardly a sign of autumn around here, and it’s still plenty warm enough to enjoy a good rosé.
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Let’s spin 180º from Mas de Gourgonnier’s Provence quarters to look west toward Languedoc and its scenic Pic Saint Loup, one of the region’s top wine-producing areas. Château Lancyre “Le Rosé” Languedoc Rosé has historically been one of the top-rated rosés, from one of Languedoc’s most sought-after regions, and this excellent 2020 vintage seems poised to continue that pace.
For the record, the label no longer prints Pic St-Loup on the label but sports the more generic Languedoc appellation. Don’t worry. Dan Kravitz, founder of U.S. importer Hand Picked Selections, explains:
“Lancyre also owns some vineyards that are outside the Pic St-Loup appellation. Most of those grapes go to the local cooperative, but they have started incorporating some of them in the production of their basic rosé. I think that from now on, this basic rosé will continue to state ‘Languedoc’ and not ‘Pic St Loup’.”
Fair enough. I’ve enjoyed this rosé and other Chateau Lancyre wines over the years, and the more broadly sourced 2020 stands up to its reputation. Don’t judge its high-teens price as upper-crust for a rosé. Choose it as an excellent value at this level for a pink wine that could easily pass for a light, refreshing red wine if you didn’t peek at its color.
If you ever get a chance to visit southern France, I recommend sparing some time to visit Languedoc, and Pic Saint Loup in particular. It’s a quick half-hour drive north from Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast, but that short drive lifts you up to beautiful rolling vineyards and spectacular peaks, most notably the sharp peak (the “Pic”) of Saint Loup.
According to Wine-Searcher.com, the appellation takes its name from the distinctive 658 meter (2,150ft) Pic Saint Loup mountain at its center, a dramatic and clear demonstration of the area’s Jurassic limestone soils.
Even the mountain’s name reflects a story that suits the Halloween season. The Montpellier Wine Tours website explains:
Montpellier’s favourite mountain gets its name from a medieval love story. Three brothers, Loup, Guiral and Clair, all in love with the beautiful Bertrade leave on a crusade without knowing which of them she would choose as her husband.
Upon their return from the Holy Land, they discovered that their beloved had died. In their grief, they decided to live as hermits atop three neighbouring peaks. The one on which Guiral lived became the Mont Saint-Guiral. It is located near Mount Aigoual and granite dome rises to a height of 1366 meters. Where Clair lived was called the Mont Saint-Clair (175 meters, and home to the city of Sète ). Living on the peak to which he gave his name, Thieri Loup lived the longest. Once a year, on the anniversary of the Lady, the three lords lit a fire on the mountain in memory of their beloved and to show each other they were still alive.
Although Languedoc may not enjoy the reverence paid to some of France’s more sought-after regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, or even the Loire or Alsace, it has surely produced a lot of the nation’s everyday drinking wine. The Romans planted vineyards here 2,000 years ago, and medieval monasteries re-established vineyards more than 1,000 years ago.
Through much of the 20th century Languedoc played a role perhaps akin to California’s Central Valley: It was the source of vast quantities of everyday wines, dotted with a few excellent but little-known producers of quality. In the 21st century, producers like Chateau Lancyre and others are making Languedoc in general and Pic St-Loup in particular well worth seeking out for quality and value.
Do you have a favorite Languedoc producer that stands out for you? Please drop by our WineLovers Discussion Group and tell us about it!
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Today’s Tasting Report
Château Lancyre 2020 “Le Rosé” Languedoc Rosé ($19.99)
A blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Cinsault, Château Lancyre “Le Rosé” Languedoc Rosé shows a light salmon color in the glass. On the nose there’s a rather subtle scent of fresh raspberries doing an alluring dance with the mixed-herbs, rosemary and thyme, that’s called “garrigues” in Languedoc. Surprisingly full and ripe for a rosé, it fills the palate with red-berry and herbal flavors wrapped in gentle but ample acidity to build structure. Red berries and “garrigues” herbs linger in a long, refreshing finish. The label claims 14.5% alcohol, but alcohol isn’t evident in its delicious flavors. Be careful out there! U.S. importer: Hand Picked Selections Inc., Warrenton, Va. (Oct. 5, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: The back label suggests matching it with roast chicken or pork, charcuterie, or stuffed tomatoes, and those all made sense to me. It worked delightfully for us with the Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe, and it was also a surprising delight with chunks of juicy, meaty Italian oxheart heirloom tomatoes.
WHEN TO DRINK: Rosé isn’t made for aging, and I see no reason not to enjoy this fresh 2020 vintage now and then move on to the next one.
I paid a couple of bucks over Wine-Searcher.com’s $18 average U.S. retail, which is getting into high altitude country for a rosé. But this one is exceptional, and I’d buy it again.
Here’s a quick fact sheet from importer Hand Picked Selections.
You can also view the winery’s English-language page on Le Rosé.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Château Lancyre “Le Rosé” Languedoc Rosé on Wine-Searcher.com.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link for dozens of other wines of all colors and styles from Languedoc’s excellent Pic St.-Loup.
Wine Focus: Wine 401 – Syrah & its blends
We’re into the last quarter of the year, and it’s time to get into some more advanced Wine Focusing: We’re going to start blending. This month it’s Syrah and its favorite blending partners: Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsault, even white Viognier, and more. It’s all up for grabs, from a classic Châteauneuf du Pâpe to a New World Syrah/Viognier blend made in the sprit of Côte-Rôtie, or even a Mourvedre/Carignan (Syrah is not mandatory!) that’s representing the interest and opportunity of a winemaker looking to do something different. The weather is getting cooler in the Northern Hemisphere, so make up a hearty stew or soup, and pop a robust bottle of one of these red blends. Here’s your link: Wine 401 – Syrah & its blending friends
Wine-Searcher.com is the place to go online if you want to find where to buy a particular wine that interests you. What’s more, Wine-Searcher.com offers so much more. It’s well worth a visit just to discover its many features, including its popular list of the world’s Top 10 Best Value Wines.
Good wines we’ve tried under $10.99!
Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10.99 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. In some cases the prices may have risen over the $10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be excellent bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!
- Famille Perrin 2019 “La Vielle Ferme” Rouge ($7.99)
- Querceto 2019 Chianti ($10.99)
- Porto Kopke Fine Ruby and Tawny Port ($9.99/375ml)
- La Fiera 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
- La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Rosé ($8.99)
- La Fiera Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
- Laroque Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)
- Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne ($7.99)
- Alamos Mendoza Malbec ($9.99)
- Caposaldo Chianti ($8.99)
- d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)
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