French wines can be very confusing even to those of us who are active in the wine trade and attend tastings on a weekly basis. Of course we all have a passing familiarity with the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, if only to the extent that we know they are famous French wine producing regions and can be old and expensive!
However, there are hundreds of appellations and thousands of producers, many of which never get the proper attention that they deserve. One such region is the Languedoc. The AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) Languedoc has over 1,000 hectares in production and produce 45,000 hectolitres of wine a year. The Languedoc is dominated by one particular appellation, the AOC Languedoc-La Clape. They have the lions share of production, covering 625 hectares and producing 30,ooo hectolitres a year.
The Languedoc produces red, white and rosé wines. I had the pleasure to try a white from the region which was a pure delight to drink. The grapes used in white wine production are bourboulenc, grenache blanc, roussane and marsanne. These grapes are known for their structure, ripe fruit and good acidity as well as having mineral notes.
I tried the Chateau d’Angles Classique blanc 2010 the other day. It is from the Languedoc La Clape AOC and a very good representative of the region. The wine is made from all four white grapes of the region with a predominance of Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc. What was interesting about this wine was that the producer originally set out to make red wines only and came upon the white varieties by accident. However, they liked what they found and soon began producing this delicious white wine.
I didn’t find it a particularly aromatic wine – hints of spices and ripe white fruit – but on the palate, it’s a real crowd pleaser. Fleshy white fruit with a pleasing creamy mouthfeel and very good length, the wine seemed to want to linger on my tongue. Despite that creaminess, it had a good structure to it, some even said a bit of tannin which is not uncommon with Bourboulenc. It certainly makes the wine more interesting. And, it was very tasty. We all liked this wine a lot. I suggest serving this with a prawn dish; it’s a very good match, the slight mineral notes in the wine, making a good contrast to the sweet flesh of prawns.
The Ch. d’Angles Classique blanc 2010 is available from the Wine Rack, for £9.99.