Not originally known for high-quality wines, this area has seen a resurgence in quality over the last few decades and it has made its mark on the wines of South France. Now known for its well-crafted and finely balanced red wines, the Corbières has become a significant and noteworthy appellation.
Its warm summers and late harvest season have been a blessing for vintners in many places in this area, where not many other crops – or vegetation of almost any kind – dare to grow. Thanks to the variety of landscapes found in the Corbières, the wines produced in the region sing with an abundance of different tannins, a range of colors, and significant depth. A broad spectrum of flavors in different price ranges exist. I would like to direct you to some of the best wines from this area in recent vintages.
Gerard Bertrand, from the Boutenac terroir, makes a very well-received Carignan-Syrah blend – La Forge. This cherry colored wine, with sweetness and spice, comes from vines that are a century old. The grapes are picked by hand, blended, and aged in oak barrels for a year. It is not pressed or filtered before the bottling process, and is stored for another 12 months before released for sale. La Forge pairs well with lamb, classic Mediterranean dishes, or grilled meats. Depending on the vintage, this can also be one of the more expensive wines of the region.
A well-balanced mix of price and flavor is the organic Corbières Rouge “Rozeta” wine made by the young and passionate Maxime Magnon. This wine is comprised of mostly Carignan grapes, but also blends in the flavors of Grenache, Syrah, Grenache Gris, Macabou, and Terret. The fields where these grapes grow are between 50 to 60 years of age and consist of limestone and schist, and are fertilized and weeded naturally by sheep. As such, lamb does complement the flavors of this wine nicely.
A popular wine from this region is Chȃteau D’Aussières. It is quite affordable but has received multiple awards for different vintages, most recently a Bronze Decanter World Wine Award last year. With a ripe fruity taste and rich intense flavors, the ratio of grapes vary from vintage to vintage. It is traditionally a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre grapes in proportion to climate conditions for the harvest year. Serve as an accompaniment with Osso Buco or other lamb dish.
The vintners in this area have used their expertise and environment to make some of the best red wines France has to offer. Take a look at your local wine seller’s or ask the sommelier at your favorite restaurant – they will be able to direct you to a lovely wine from the Corbières that will be both pleasing to your palate and perfectly accompany any meal. Santé!