Once again, I missed my deadline on Wine Blogging Wednesday. I've been accused in the past of not playing well with others, but this is really more about my tendency to be a day late and a dollar short.
WBW #33 was hosted by Marcus at Doktor Weingolb. WBW, of course, is the brainchild of Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours.
The theme this month was mid-priced wines from the Midi region of France, “mid” meaning wines in the $15-$30 range. This was an interesting assignment for me, because I tend to think of this region as a treasure trove of bargains—$15 and under wines.
As my regular readers know, my wine-buying focus is in the $10-ish range. I don’t mind paying a little more, but I delight in finding great, inexpensive wines.
Doktor Weingolb is a great source of information on this region. I won’t pretend to know very much about this area of France—because I don’t, but Marcus has compiled an impressive amount of information on this region and many others.
The Midi refers to the Langedoc-Roussilon area of southern France. A wide variety of grapes are permitted, and perhaps because it doesn’t enjoy the prestige of some of the country’s other wine growing areas, the wines can be a real steal.
Corbières is the region within the Midi I’m most familiar with and also the largest AOC in the region. So, it was natural that the wine I selected was from Corbières. The other deciding factor was that my local wine stores don’t carry very much wine from the Midi and most of it is under $15—yet another indication that the wines from this part of the world are under-appreciated and pleasantly priced.
2001 Château Aumèdes Corbières Cuveé Emilien Raissac ($20)
This wine was in many ways exactly what I would expect from Corbières and also surprising at the same time. I couldn’t find very much information on it, but the best I can determine is that the blend is carignan, syrah and/or grenache, and( maybe) some mourvèdre.
The nose was a bit muted at first, but it opened up nicely to reveal notes of blackberry, smoked meat and earth. As with many European wines, wines from the Midi often show more “earthy” characteristics than their New World counterparts.
The flavors were fairly simple, but very pleasant: blackberry, cinnamon and tar predominated, followed by firm tannins and a pleasing acidity. Compared to many of the reds I’ve been drinking lately, this struck me as a bit one-dimensional at first.
However, the more I sipped, the more I liked it. It’s understated, interesting and subtle.
Finding a Rhone-style wine in Corbières wasn’t surprising. Many of the Rhone grapes do extremely well in the warmer temperatures of southern France. I was, however, surprised at the elegance and style of this wine.
Was it worth the extra money? I’m not sure. It does make me want to taste more wines from this region. Stayed tuned for more Midi wines.