2016 Mas Conscience L’In Blanc Coteaux du Languedoc

Along the road to Montpeyroux, somewhere between the town of Montpeyroux and the wine village of Aniane sits the village of Saint Jean des Fos. And, along the Herault River, just to the west of town, sits the winery of Mas Conscience.

As a long time vistor to the area, it was wine hunter Bernard Bardou who first brought the small winery to my attention a few years ago. Back then, Bardou remarked as we were having lunch in Montpellier, that Conscience was one of the up and coming “new” producers in a region best known for the long established producers like D’Aupilhac, Gassac and Chabernon.

The Mas Conscience winery makes nine wines of incredible local character. Being between Montpeyroux and Aniane the style of the wines are of neither village, and instead have a style of their own.

The 2016 Mas Conscience L’n is a charmer. Light and lively, it’s made from a blend of Grenache blanc, Vermentino, Roussanne and Viognier, the wine is not Rhone at all, but totally Languedoc in style.

Rich lime flavors from the Grenache blanc picked from vineyard on the side of the quartz based riverbed melds joyously with the peach like flavors from the Roussanne. The light honeysuckle flavor from the Viognier and the dryness of the Vermenino, add a nice counterpoint to the vibrant fruit, making this wine so easy to drink.

That’s why, the 2016 Mas Conscience L’in is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2016 Domaine de Cebene Belle Lurette Faugeres

Rarely does a wine come across to carry the claim that it’s the best ever from a region. But that’s what the latest release from Domaine de Cebene is like from first to last sip.

The mostly all Carignan 2016 Cebene Belle Lurette from the Faugeres region in France’s Languedoc-Roussillion, comes across as the smoothest, sexiest and freshest youthful wine of its type ever produced by Brigitte Chevalier, or perhaps by any winery in Faugueres. The addition of Mourvedre, which grows very well in Faugeres, like it does in Bandol, and some old vine Grenache, gives the Belle Lurette an enchanting, almost ethereal flavor that lingers and lingers for up to 30 seconds.

While obviously tasting youthful, the mix of 70 year to some century aged Carignan vines are clearly at play, as the intensity of the fruit, the blending of the sage and rosemary aromas from the garrigue and the lack of oak has made the wine both very ageworthy and drink now friendly.

While black fruit flavors are most evident as the black raspberry, blackberry and black cherry tastes all come through, there’s also a healthy dose of red plums, some black tar and slate going on. This is a gem of a wine, and worth seeking out.

That’s why, the 2016 Cebene Belle Lurette Faugeres is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 L’Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet

The Cave Ormarine is in the town of Picpoul, just north of Bezier, west of Sete and next to Meze.  The region is oyster country, as the oyster beds are a stone’s throw from each of those coastal towns. 

And like dining on a plate of those just out of the water salty oysters, so fresh is the taste of the 2018 L’Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet. Beyond being the town name, the grape in the wine is also Pipoul, one of the 13 grapes permitted in Chateauneuf du Pape.

As it has been for centuries, Picpoul de Pinet is one of those white wines that has a romance with oysters, much like a dry Alsatian Riesling, crisp Chablis from Burgundy or a racy Sancerre from the Loire.

While the Picpoul grape lacks the expressive bouquet of those wines, what it gives up in aromatics, it makes up in lightness of weight and its delicate balance of lemon, lime and kiwi flavors, and the soft mineral notes.

A perfect summer sipper, and an enjoyable wine to start the meal, are all good reasons why the 2018 L’Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.

2017 Francois Villard Le Gallet Blanc Cote Rotie

Cote Rotie, the often sought after, elusive, small production region of the Northern Rhone has many charmers. Some are made from older vineyards, and some are made from “younger” plots of 20 or so years old.

The latter is what defines the 2017 Francois Villard Le Gallet Blanc Cote Rotie.

The Gallet Blanc has it all. Bacon fat, blueberry, black pepper and so good now. It’s got great palate weight, super length, is elegant and totally fruit driven.

That’s why the the 2017 Francois Villard Le Gallet Blanc Cote Rotie is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2016 Chateau Unang La Source Ventoux

Sometimes wines just fly under the radar and need to be better known. That’s the case with the  Chateau Unang and their 2016 La Source red from the rapidly rising Ventoux wine region in France. On the 9th century historic property, James and Joanna King produce wines of tremendous character amongst the breathtaking view based winery on the side of Mount Ventoux.

The 2016 Chateau Unang  La Source is a wine of grace, power, sophistication, flavor, style, spice and gobs of red fruit, all encased in a velvety finish.  Completely hand-harvested off of a vineyard that dates back centuries, the Syrah led blend includes Grenache and Cinsault, delivering a powerful Ventoux experience like few others.

Tastes of blackberries, blueberries, white pepper and spice, backed by hints of violets and some ripened raspberries and strawberries all come across in the flavor the wine. This is a serious dinner wine, and capable of standing up to more popular wines from the Gigondas’ Domaine du Cayron or the Maury region of the Roussillon’s Clos des Fees.

That’s why the 2016 Chateau Unang La Source Ventoux is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 Domaine d’Aupilhac Lou Maset Rose Languedoc

So as the world waits for Montpeyroux to receive Grand Cru status, for now, the wines from this hamlet just 29 kilometers outside of Montpellier have to know them as Languedoc or Terrases de Lazac. So be it, as nothing takes away from the high end of quality wines that Sylvain Fadat has been producing for now almost 30 years at his village winery, Domaine D’Aupilhac. His newest wine, the 2018 D’Aupilhac Lou Maset Rose is just a killer. 

Made from 50 percent Mourvedre, with the balance Cinsault and Syrah, the dark pink wine is almost a lighter shade of Ruby in color. Here’s a jam packed blackberry, raspberry and blueberry flavored Rose that stands up to roasted peppers, or cheese, as well as being able to be enjoyed all by itself.

That’s why, the  2018 D’Aupilhac Lou Maset Rose is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day,

2018 Domaine de La Tour du Bon

In Bandol, only five percent of the wines produced are white, with the rest being rose and red. That means the opportunity to drink white Bandol, like Beaujolais Blanc, is best done when in the region, as the choices are more plentiful, and often more available when dining out.

Domaine de La Tour du Bon produces one of those whites that is very worthy of knowing about. Made from Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Rolle, the 2018 La Tour du Bon Blanc is a mineral based white wine that has the aromas of fresh flowers fields in full bloom, some star Anise, the subtleness of lemon zest, grapefruit, oranges, and pineapple fruit.

It’s a lovely white wine that is as at home all by itself, as it is with swordfish or tuna tartare, or even a nice hard cheese or soft chevre.

That’s why the 2018 La Tour du Bon Blanc is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.D

Domaine Vintur L’Effervescence

Part of the fun of doing deep dives into wine regions, like France’s Ventoux, is the opportunity to make new discoveries of wines from producers bubbling under the radar of many. 

Take James Wood, who has over the past decade been mastering his craft at Domaine Vintur, at the base of the famed Tour De France hill climb location, Mount Ventoux.

Vintur makes impeccable pink, red and white wines of lovely character and distinction, but it was the bubbly, affectionately named L’Effervescence, that just simply sparkled at Decouvertes du Rhone and at the Ventoux Rising OFF.

Made from 85% Bouboulenc and 15% Roussanne, the Effervescence clocks in at a lowly 11.5 percent of alcohol, making this an ideal summer poolside bubbly, or fantastic base for yummy mimosas made with papaya or mangos.

Vinified so there’s zero residual sugar, the Effervescence’s lively palate of dancing fruit charm gives off flavors of sub-tropical oranges, lemons, and nectarines, plus a good swift kick of ripe honeydew melon.

And that’s why the Domaine Vintur Effervescence is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 Chene Bleu La Rose

One of the most anticipated times of the year is the release of Rose wines for me. Each year I look forward to the arrival of some of the most charming, spring and summer friendly wines on the planet, and that’s spelled R O S E  for me.

While the California Rose wines are hitting the shelves, so too are some of the best of France finding their way across the water, while some are just hitting the docks.

One of those that makes my mouthwater is the 2018 Chene Bleu La Rose. 

It’s a harmonious blend of high Rhone Valley Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Rolle. The Chene Bleu comes through with that light pale pink Provencale color that defines Rose in places like Saint Tropez. But that’s where it just starts. 

Like the 2017 vintage, the strawberry, raspberry, dried limes and white spice and bone dry style of the wine makes this a killer evening starter, but when matched up with shellfish, spicy food, smoked meats or cheese, this year’s Rose wine really takes hold.

The 2018 Chene Bleu La Rose is as serious of a Rose as it gets, and that’s why it’s today’s WineSiders’ Rose of The Day!!!

2017 Celler del Roure Safra

A new wine discovery is always a thrill. That was how it was with the 2017 Celler del Roure Safra, a wine produced in Spain’s Valencia region.

Made from Mandó and Garnacha Tintorera (which is often thought to be Alicante Bouschet). It is first fermented by natural yeasts in large stone lagars and stainless steel tanks then aged for 6 months in clay amphorae.  While Grenache is so much the wine of the Rhone, this type of Garnacha is very different, with a lighter, more fruit forward style, drawing some memories of the easy to drink Clos de Gilroy from Bonny Doon’s days gone past. 

Talk about a different, game changing wine. Wow. It’s pure hedonistic enjoyment with layer upon layer of ripe red and blue fruit flavors. It’s a wine that yields well to pork dishes, but would go well with sharp machango cheese or layered BBQ.

That’s why the 2017 Celler del Roure Safra is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

 

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