The Languedoc region of France often gets little respect, but it’s actually the largest wine region in the world, by both area and volume of production. Located on the southern, Mediterranean coast of the country, it shares a lot in common with its neighbor to the north: The Rhone Valley. These three wines are all traditional, Rhone-style blends, heavy on the Syrah, but each is unique in its own way.
2008 Mas du Soleilla La Clape Les Bartelles Coteaux du Languedoc – Mostly Syrah, with a Grenache kicker. Both big bodied and surprisingly acidic. Smoky on the finish. I like this a lot, but it could use a touch more complexity. B+ / $35
2006 Chateau Bousquette Saint Chinian – 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre. Tastes more like a Cabernet: Thick and tannic, but with a smoky, woody kicker. Long finish, a little skunky at the end. B / $15
2008 Chateau de Lancyre Coste D’Aleyrac – 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Carignan. My favorite wine of this crop, despite the budget price. Lots of fruit, with blueberry and strawberry especially distinct. Light in body, but reasonably well structured and exceptionally easy-drinking. A- / $15