Can Sud de France Overcome Its Bad-Boy Rep?
PR and marketing can do wonders for a person or brand's ailing reputation. Think about Angelina Jolie going from goth maven to humanitarian; J.Crew from boring preppy basics to arbiters of fashion; Lindsay Lohan from wild child teen star to......(well, ok, maybe not her).
The annual Sud de France promotion kicked off Memorial Day weekend, starting a month filled with pouring events around the city. It focuses on the Languedoc-Roussillon region and improving the reputation of their wines. Historically, the area produced a lot of bulk wine of mediocre quality and although there has been improvements in recent years in vinification techniques, the infamy continues.
These wines are worth taking a look at, though, especially in these summer months. The wines are produced to complement the warm and sunny climate and are ideal for the June - August stretch. While not all are rock stars, there are enough options to find something that can overcome the tabloid-cover reputation.
Chateau de Manissy Cuvee des Lys, Tavel, 2012 (Approx $18)
It's southern France, and you'd best be believin' they be making rose. (I'm trying to sound tough in the face of all the rose blogs i post. It's a lot of pink to have going on). I totally dug this particular one. Wild strawberry fields and ripe juicy berries were balanced by some nice minerality and acidity, which kept it from becoming a juice box. It finished dry and it's medium-bodied style would stand up well on its own to food. Yeah, this rose's not afraid of some dinner. This pink's no wimp.
Muscat is often vinified in a sweeter style, so this dry Muscat was something fun to try. The nose was rather floral, redolant of white flowers and honeysuckle along with essences of melon and a wee bit of citrus. On the palate, there was a lot of ripe orchard fruits, such as peach and apricot but high acidity. It's a sitting-on-the-porch-in-the summer-sipping-some-wine kind of situation with this bottle. Perhaps pair it with a hammock?
Chateaux Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minvervois, 2010 (Approx $17)
Eh. Just not in love with this one. Made with carignan from old vines, It was really earthy and barnyard-y, lots of musky, dirty stuff going on. There were some blackberry and black, brambly fruits on this and it could have fallen into the "fun n' funky" category of wines but it just didn't sing to me. It was light-bodied and good for the summer but I don't ever see myself reaching for this one. The label is pretty fun, though. On second glance the flower isn't as delicate as first impressions may give; it looks like a tattoo on a biker chick, or maybe some big dude named Bubba.
Keep tasting, friends...