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A Friendly Introduction to Southern French Reds

Mas des Chimères Coteaux du Languedoc 2007
James Molesworth
Posted: January 21, 2010

Enjoying the recent Monday holiday with my girls, we stopped in at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck, N.Y., for lunch. Gigi is a friendly, Tuscan-inspired restaurant that relies heavily on local Hudson Valley produce. It makes great thin-crust pizzas, parmesan-dusted fries and delicious white beans, plus it has a fun, modestly priced wine list—so everyone in the family wins.

Even though the wine list is more than half Italian, there’s good breadth, with a nice range of southern French selections as well. Who says you have to drink Italian with pizza? I opted for this Languedoc bottling from Mas des Chimères, made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre.

Winemaker Guilhem Dardé sold his family grapes to the local co-op for years before starting to make his own wine in the 1993 vintage. The 2007 offers a rich and silky texture, with very friendly, accessible black cherry, iron and lavender notes, followed by a peppery finish—it’s a textbook introduction to Languedoc reds. At just $44 on the list, it offered solid value too; 89 points for me, non-blind. members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated reds from Languedoc, plus our quick list of Easy Finds among French Reds.

Member comments   2 comment(s)

Guillermo Rodriguez B — Caracas, Venezuela —  February 5, 2010 11:30am ET

First of all Happy 2010. I`m very much into Carmenere, and want your recomendatios on that varietal. Enjoy very much Arboleda, Purple Angel, Terrunyo, among others. Its in my opinion and unique varietal, where you can find a beautifull and expressive bouquet, and a unique taste. Thank you for your time, and recomendations on it. Od. Dr. Guillermo Rodriguez B.

James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  February 5, 2010 12:58pm ET


Carmenère is a nice grape, when ripe. It's overtly green when it isn't fully ripe. Most Chilean vintners have gotten a handle on it over the last few years and there's better consistency now. For specific recommendations, you can use our wine search here on this site, as well as watch the mag for reviews and my annual Chile report (typically in the May issue).

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