The Southern French wine regions have generally been known as table wines, they are affordable and more importantly drinkable… and every now and then you will find one that will really jump out at you. They are much more experimental in this part of France compared to such high reputation regions as Bordeaux and Burgundy – yet perhaps thats the beauty of it – a bit of unexpectedness in your glass! By experimental i mean grape varieties to vineyard practices being more accepted and not so stringent and regulated as some areas.
At my local booze shop i came across what i thought would be just another typical easy drinking, red wine with soft tannins selling for approximately 40 dirhams (US$ 11). The label read: Chateau Triniac, 2006, AOC Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France. I have to admit immediately when i saw it i thought what is ‘Latour’ doing on the label – my first thought when this word pops up is of the great Chateau Latour first growth of Bordeaux…. though something tells me this bottle is a very far off cousin at only 40 AED!Latour is indeed a small village in Roussillon, very close to Spain, built on a granite, limestone and schist subsoil at an altitude of 300 meters. The mixture of these elements proves to make an extraordinarily aromatically complex and concentrated wine. It is one of those wines that after one sniff you could nearly be satisfied just smelling its beautiful aroma with out even drinking it.
The grapes are similar to those used in the Southern Rhone – old Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Which produce a spectacular nose of leather, cherries, mocha and a hint of meatiness which will develop with age over the next couple of years. The palate has a good amount of acidity balanced by a lovely full body and matching tannins. The alcohol is quite high at 14% but you don’t notice this so much in amongst all the berry and chocolate notes titillating your palate.
The finish is just as impressive, lingering in your mouth until will after the ad break. This is a definite must try, so if you cant afford a tour of France opt for a bottle of Latour de France instead with a nice steak or even some game.