Meaty Deals from the South of France

By Robert Parker

I first wrote about Languedoc wines in the June, 1991, issue of The Wine Advocate. The title of that piece was "Great wine values for tough economic times." It's debatable whether we are in tough economic times today, but there's no argument that this still-overlooked region in southwest France produces some superb wines at terrific prices. They go well with Mediterranean cuisine and are best during their first three or four years. My colleague David Schildknecht reviewed these wines.

88 POINTS

Champs des Soeurs 2005 Fitou Bel Amant

This red, which smells of blackberry and beef blood, fills the mouth with meat juices and tart but ripe black fruits. It brings mineral characteristics to bear on an understated but satisfyingly long finish. $17

89 POINTS

Chateau Coupe Roses 2004 Minervois Cuvée Vignals

An amazing, meaty, marrow-and-pan-drippings bouquet comes together with bay leaf, fennel, and marjoram. With ripe plum and blackberry fruit, roasted and smoked meat flavors on the palate, this is one distinctive wine. $18

90 POINTS

Domaine des Aires Hautes 2004 Minervois La Livinières

Comprising syrah, grenache, and carignan, this wine has a wonderfully soft feel and a doughy richness. It finishes long on berry fruit tinged with brown spices, vanilla, and yeasty notes of fresh baked goods. $16

90 POINTS

Domaine Donjon 2004 Château du Donjon Minervois Prestige

Fashioned from barrel-aged syrah and grenache, this wine has intense aromas of herbs blended with black raspberry and cherry liqueur. Chocolate, resinous herbs, walnut oil, and beef stock all add to its appeal. $17

91 POINTS

Mas Carlot 2005 Costires de Nîmes Les Enfants Terribles

Les Enfants Terribles Equal parts mourvèdre and syrah, this wine unites plum and berry preserves with a raw meat character for an unforgettable juxtaposition. There are hints of herbs, cocoa powder, and vanilla. $14

91 POINTS

Château d'Or et De Gueules 2003 Costières de Nîmes

This wine rushes from the rim in fruited, smoky, gamy, and pungently herbal aromatic profusion. Silken in texture, it displays a freshness and fluidity that belie its 15% alcohol. $13

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit www.eRobertParker.com to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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