Ask a wine lover to name you a white from France and they'll almost guaranteed tell you about Burgundy, Loire, Jura or Alsace – all located in the northern part of the country. The South of France, with some exceptions, is more evocative of red wine. However, on the Mediterranean side, the vast crescent that constitutes the Languedoc-Roussillon vineyard is also the source of excellent white wines, often original and made from lesser-known grape varieties.
Visiting the vineyards of Gérard Bertrand a few weeks ago, I was able to taste a full range of full, solid and sunny red wines, but it was the white wines in particular that caught my attention, and not only because the thermometer showed 30°C in the shade! (Three cuvées are available for private import through the Southern Glazer agency.)
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Languedoc is a formidable land of whites, from the Hérault in the north to the south of the Corbières, and from the Mediterranean coast to the interior, on the high limestone hillsides of Limoux. In addition to giving unique wines, the white grape varieties of the South – white and gray Aramons, Bourboulenc, White Carignan, Clairette, White and Gray Grenache, Macabeu, Marsanne, Muscats, Piquepoul, Rolle (Vermentino), Roussanne, Terrets, etc. – have long proven their resistance to the heat and drought of the Mediterranean climate. Some of these varieties, without being immune to extreme fluctuations, retain relatively low alcohol levels and a healthy freshness, at perfect maturity.
As many advantages as the white wine lover should cherish. Especially with the oyster and other shellfish season just starting…
Gérard Bertrand, Côte des Roses 2021, Languedoc
★★1⁄2 | $1⁄2 | $18.95 | France 13% | 1.4 g/L
SAQ code: 15003036
Gérard Bertrand owns 18 properties spread across Languedoc and whose vineyards are run biodynamically. However, most of the company's production is based on the purchase of wine from producers in the region. The result of a blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Bourboulenc, the white from the Côte des Roses range offers great fullness on the palate and delicate notes of fresh almond and white fruit. Serious enough to be served at the table, with a fillet of trout with sorrel.
Maritime breezes cross the Etang de Thau and rock the vines of Picpoul de Pinet, sometimes giving an air of Muscadet to the wines of this small appellation in eastern Languedoc. The Picpoul grape presents itself here in a nervous light, with clean and expressive flavors of lemon and white fruits. A natural pairing for oysters and razor clams.
Orange wines are popular, but their sometimes wild profile is not unanimous. More conservative palates may find a fair compromise in this one. A pellicular maceration of Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Muscat gives a structured white wine, without being tannic, and endowed with a notable aromatic intensity, between sweet spices and citrus peel.
Castle of Caraguilhes, Corbières 2021 La Font Blanche
This historic Corbières property has been grown organically since the 1980s. In addition to a very good red sold at the SAQ, Pierre Gabison signs an equally tasty white of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. Discreet on opening, the wine evolves a lot in contact with oxygen and develops aromas of peach, bitter almond and pear, declined on a full, but fine texture. Take out the carafe and serve it with grilled fish.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128