Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cote 125 Corbieres Rouge 2009

As someone who loves wine and spends a fair amount of time researching and writing about it, I start to believe that I know a little bit about the subject. What makes wine so interesting thought is that no matter how much you know, there are always new things to discover that force you to be humble about your knowledge. One new thing that I have discovered lately is that I'm starting to enjoy wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Languedoc-Roussillon is not very well known, even by many who profess to be knowledgeable about wine. Even many of those who might be familiar with the region, don't know all that much about it. I for one was surprised to learn that it is the largest wine producing area in the world. Like many other lesser known regions that are gaining awareness recently, it's wine heritage largely consists of low quality wines produced in high quantity. Over the past few decades, however, that has changed. There is a new found focus on quality wine in the region that is benefiting everyone in the form of very enjoyable wines that won't break the bank. Languedoc-Roussillon is in Southern France and is just west of Provence and the Southern Rhone. Many of the red wine grapes used here are the same grapes you will see in Rhone reds. The climate is hot and dry and will vary quite a bit as you get nearer or further from the Mediterranean. There are also several microclimates as you move east and west in the region. As the region gains in reputation, some of these areas are getting their own AOC designation. This includes regions like Coteaux du Languedoc (or simply Languedoc), Corbieres, and Minervois. Over the next several days, I will be examining some red wines from these varied regions of the Languedoc-Roussillon area. To start, let's take a look at a wine from Corbieres, the Cote 125 Corbieres Rouge 2009. Corbieres is the largest AOC within the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It has very different terroir throughout that includes hillside vineyards and flatlands with heights from sea level to 1600 feet, and the soil itself also changes considerably throughout the region. The region's variety is so strong that the growers have divided the AOC unofficially into 11 different zones, many of which might attain AOC status in the future. The Cote 125 Corbieres Rouge 2009 is dark purple in color and brings aromas of blackberry and raspberry fruit with some very subtle barnyard. On the palate you get blackberry and sour cherry fruit with some very mild tannins from this blend of 50% Carignan, 35% Grenache, and 15% Syrah. The acidity is nice and there is a little bit of minerality on the finish. Overall you get decent fruit with just a little bit of tannins and acidity to balance things out. It's certainly not spectacular, but for $10 a bottle it's a pretty enjoyable, everyday red. Pair with everyday fare such as pork tenderloin or grilled pork chops. Cheers!

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