Natural reds of the Languedoc
Languedoc’s diverse terroir has drawn vignerons since Roman times, and now some of its most exciting wines are the natural reds being made by a new generation of energetic young winemakers.
The Languedoc region is the largest wine producing region of France, and one of the most diverse. It stretches from the Pyrenees to the Camargue along the Mediterranean Sea, and the vines are grown at a variety of altitudes as well as on the coastline and on the flats, in varied soils. When the Romans first planted vineyards in France, they planted them in Languedoc.
The region is home to a dynamic mix of winemakers, from the traditional to the young, energised and experimental. As far as reds go, it’s particularly known for its blends, which typically include Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and/or Syrah. Many of the wines are notably complex, and many are produced as vin naturel.
Because of the vast amounts of wine produced here, the region has long had a reputation for cheap and cheerful plonk. In the past decade, however, it has shifted towards producing higher quality wines, and some of its blended reds are truly diamonds in the rough for their complex and interesting characteristics.
Les Cigales dans la Fourmilière Marée Basse 2019
With its sour plum and berry notes and chalky texture, this young, fresh wine is spontaneously fermented, unfined and unfiltered. The blend of Grenache Blanc and Grenache Noir adds softness and lightness to the wild natural style.
Mylène Bru Coteaux du Languedoc Far-Ouest 2015
This juicy cherry-coloured wine has both punch and softness, with lovely dark forest vibes. The grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan – are fermented and aged separately and then blended. Mylène is among the female winemakers who are contributing so much to the renewed energy of the region.
2016 Faugères, Domaine Leon Barral
Leon Barral is considered one of the best biodynamic wine producers of the region. This wine is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault, with cherry, plum and violet aromas, and a meadow of garrigue notes. Expect sapidity, light tannin, dark stone fruit and a touch of liquorice.