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Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie Pays d'Oc "Pas des Louvres" 2014
Country: FRANCE/ Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: PAYS D'OC / Varietal(s): ROUSSANNE+MACABEU+ BOURBOULENC+CLAIRETTE --- Founded in its current form during the reign of Louis XIV by an officer returning from service on the Indian subcontinent, the grounds of Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie also contain ruins of a Roman winery, a testament to its long winemaking history. Faillenc Sainte Marie is a small estate, consisting of 8 hectares of vineyards set amidst rocky limestone terraces in the foothills of Mont Alaric, buffeted by the Tramontane wind. This inhospitable, extremely dry climate contributes to naturally low yields and great character in the resulting wines. Jean-Baptiste Gibert, son of vignerons Dominique and Marie-Therese, has now taken charge of the domaine and embarked on the steps towards organic certification. This delicious mineral-driven white, named “Pas des Louves” (“path of the she-wolves”), is made from a blend of roussanne, macabeu, bourboulenc, and clairette. The four grape varieties are pressed and vinified together; fine lees contact during fermentation gives body and complexity. Dry, this possesses a compelling minerality along with a nutty, herbal character that perfectly complements touches of citrus and ripe tropical fruit on the palate. A versatile sipper, this makes a great choice for Alpine cheese toasts.
 
Château Jouclary Cabardès AOC "Cuvée Tradition" 2014
Country: FRANCE / Region: LANGUEDOC / Appellation: CABARDÈS AOC / Varietal(s): MERLOT+GRENACHE+SYRAH --- This wine seriously over-delivers for the price! Located on the southern slopes of the Montagne Noir (the southernmost outcropping of the Massif Central, just outside the medieval walled city of Carcassonne), the Cabardès AOC is one of France's newest AOCs, established in 1998. It is unique in that producers are allowed to blend Mediterranean varietals like grenache and syrah with Atlantic grapes like merlot and cabernet franc. The result is "Bordeaux meets Côtes du Rhône" – earthy, spicy, and rustic. The vineyards of Château de Jouclary are planted with three of the sanctioned varieties; syrah, grenache, and merlot. Merlot is the backbone of the wine, while the old vine grenache and syrah from the stony upper hillside contribute ripe fruit flavors, warmth, and spice on the palate. Fermented in lined cement vats, the wine rests in vats for 12 months and receives a number of rackings before it is bottled. This cuvée, the 2014, is 50% merlot, contributing lush plum and cassis flavors, followed up by equal components of herbal, tarry grenache and syrah. A beautiful purple-ruby hue in the glass, this is equally delightful on the palate, with complex flavors of fleshy plum and cherry, accented by undertones of leather, dried herbs, licorice, earth, and mushroom. Satisfyingly green and earthy, this glass of funky French goodness just begs to be drunk with roast beef, leg of lamb, or cassoulet.