One of the fun things about Wine Blogging Wednesday is that it gets you outside your comfort zone and forces you to try something different. WBW #33, hosted by Doktor Weingolb, is no exception. There's little chance I would have tried to hunt down a wine of this month's theme - Languedoc-Roussillon value wines, in the $15 to $30 range - without the impetus of WBW. Indeed, I had to visit a couple of stores before I found some wines that fit the bill. I finally hit paydirt in a well-stocked spirits and wine shop. I carried in Dr. W's list, and soon had two store staffers scurrying around reading labels and making suggestions. (If you are on a wine scavenger hunt, it's always good to visit the wine shop when it's not busy - the staff have time to kill, and can be very helpful.) Thanks for a great theme, Dok W!
Chateau Tour Boisee Minervois 1999
Our primary selection for this WBW challenge was Chateau Tour Boisée Minervois 1999, which we found for $17. Though we found this wine to be a bit dryer and more mineral in nature than our usual California and Aussie fare, we liked it quite a bit. The nose was very prominent, exhibiting berry, anise, spice, and caramel notes. On the palate, this wine was a mix of juicy cranberry and plum with peppery notes. Overall it was quite astringent and puckery, though the bold flavors and complexity balanced the wine to the point where that character wasn't unpleasant. Extra breathing time rounded out the flavor to a degree, but some bite remained in the wine's sustained finish. The wine is composed of 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 10% Cinsaut. For additional commentary and wine details, see Chateau Tour Boisée Minervois 1999.
We also bought a secondary bottle - Les Hauts del la Brune Coteaux du Languedoc 2004. This cost only $8, and hence didn't meet the WBW #33 criteria. Check out the full report. Like the Minervois, this is a rather dry red, but overall it is not nearly as flavorful. We'd happily trade two bottles of this Languedoc for one of the Minervois.
A big thanks to Doktor Weingolb for hosting, and of course to Lenn Thompson for launching this virtual community.