Quality On The Rise
Languedoc-Roussilon is a vast sea of more than 800,000 vineyards. For many years the region was known for more for quantity than quality.
The wines of the region have traditionally be produced from Carnigan, Cinsault and Grenache. Now varieties like Syrah, Mourvedre, Merlot and even Cabernet Sauvignon are being used as replacements for the higher-yielding lower quality grapes.
This along with a focus on improved winemaking techniques has resulted in pleasing results. From Minervois we sampled the 2010 Chateau Villerembert-Moureau, a wine that showcases the positive trend.
A Winning Old World Style Wine
Old World style wines beg to accompany a meal. They are deeper and more robust while New World wines are often fruit forward and ready to “pop and pour.” Chateau Villerembert-Moureau (which shouldn’t, but can easily, be confused with Chateau Villerembert-Julien) has delivered a thoroughly enjoyable wine with gripping tannins in the Old World tradition.
Minervois is considered to produce the best wine in the Languedoc-Roussilon region. The wine is labelled “Grand Vin de France,” indicating it is a higher quality wine. There are no regulations regarding the term, but we woudl agree that this wine is certainly a level above a table wine.
This Chateau Villerembert-Moureau is 45% Grenache, 35% Carignan and 10% Syrah. There is fruit on the nose and in the glass the wine is a deep, dark crimson. On the palate the wine has strong tannins and there is an earthy, brambly quality.
The wine is medium bodied, but could stand up to cured meats or a hearty stew. My wife and I started sipping this on its own after dinner, but I quickly located some Gruyere and crackers to nibble.
I recall going to dinner in Washington with a colleague who, after looking at the wine list, said “I want dirt!” He obviously loved earthy wines and so would savor this work of Chateau Villerembert-Moureau.