appellations such as Corbières, Minervois, St.
Chinian and Banyuls.
Languedoc is slowly gaining attention,
says Martin Sinkoff, director of marketing
for Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd.,
importers/wine merchants. “But it’s not
heterogeneous enough to be recognized.
With Bordeaux, you have an idea of what the
wine will deliver, whether it’s a tannic red or
crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Since the Languedoc
spreads from the Rhone to the Pyrenees, it’s
difficult to explain it all to the consumer.”
for Pasternak Wine Imports. “Château
d’Aussières, the flagship ‘cuvée of excellence’
and traditional Languedoc red blend, is made
from the best parcels of the vineyard in limited
quantity, which fully express the richness of
the late-ripening and cool terroir.”
the traditional Languedoc blends, especially
from Mas Jullien and Château d’Oupia in
the Minerva AOC. He pairs these wines
with meatballs with pork belly sliders and
amatriciana sauce and ricotta cheese.
Sinkoff points to a wine in the Wildman
portfolio, Maison Hecht & Bannier rosé, as
an example of quality at $15 a bottle from a
small, innovative winery. “The value is there,
and the sommelier can say, ‘If you like Côtes
du Rhone, you’ll like Languedoc wines.’ Gallo
and Mondavi tried to build large brands, but
people like the artisanal leaders.”
LANGUEDOC WINES FOR
COOKING AND PAIRING
Pasternak also imports Les Clos de
Paulilles in the Banyuls AOC. This sweet
wine is an example of les vins doux naturels,
a signature style of fortified wine of the
Languedoc. The grapes for the wine are
harvested in the Pyrenees foothills from the
largest vineyard holding in Banyuls.
Wines from the Jura and the Languedoc
present brand names and varietals that
may not yet be instantly recognizable.
Sinkoff categorizes these wines,
especially those of the Jura, as
specialties. Certain diners, he believes,
will find these bottles appealing. He
compares the discovery process to
people finding their niche singer among
the vast range of global music.
Kreuther always stocks Les Clos de
Paulilles at The Modern for the Banyuls jus
in his Pennsylvania duck breast with black
trumpet marmalade and fleischschneke.
At Bar Boulud, Madrigale reaches for
Languedoc labels when he seeks rustic
wines with “wild, tannic, raw expression.”
He recommends steak and roast chicken
with the Grenache/Carignan blends from
Domaine Leon Barral Faugères.
Madrigale concurs. “These wines are not the
ones we grew up with, and they have flavors
we’re not familiar with. It’s like great art. It isn’t
always easy to understand. But if you are
open and look for it, you’ll find it’s worthwhile.”
One French-based international company,
Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite),
established roots in Languedoc with the
purchase of Domaine d’Aussières in 1991.
This estate was planted by the Romans and
reestablished by the church in the Middle
Ages. Revitalized by Rothschild (Lafite), the
390-acre vineyard Château d’Aussières
estate in the Corbières AOC is planted
with traditional Languedoc varietals: Syrah,
Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignan.
Deborah Grossman is a San Francisco Bay
Area journalist who writes about people,
places and products that impact the food-and-wine world.
Though Segal at Heart prefers white wines,
and especially those of the Jura, he likes
“The estate is a wild and natural property of
intense and powerful beauty,” says Susan-
Anne Cosgrove, director of marketing
Michael Madrigale, wine director at Bar
Boulud, would recommend a range of
Jura wines to go with roast chicken,
salmon, pâté and cheese.