How well do you know Corbières?
Plenty of people are familiar with Languedoc-Roussillon wines, It’s the single biggest wine producing region in the world, but very few people think to see what sub regions make up the whole. French Corner Cellars invites you to explore these areas, starting with its one of our personal favorites, Corbières.
Corbières (pre-Celtic for ‘Rock’ and ‘Berre’ - after the river Berre) is the largest AOC in the region, and the most important - making up almost 50% of Languedoc-Roussillon’s wine production. Before its official recognition in 1985, the winemakers had to label their wines Vin de pays d'Oc or Coteaux du Languedoc. Known for its spicy, earthy red wines, Corbières production consists of 95% Red wine, with a little Rose, and even less white wine.
Because of its sheer size, it’s hard to generalize about any aspects of Corbières (oddly enough, it does have one of the lowest population densities in France), it’s a mountainous area with Eighty-Seven villages, and eleven Terroirs (Montagne d'Alaric, Saint Victor, Fontfroide, Queribus, Boutenac, Termenès, Lézignan, Lagrasse, Sigean, Durban, and Serviès respectively). Corbières encompasses a variety of microclimates and soil types that varies from terroir to terroir, it is a microcosm within the Languedoc, with common chalky clay to Rhône-like fine limestone and schist - these are located on limestone hills with a topsoil of schist, from which a wine of exceptionally deep and rich earthy character can be created.
Winemakers in Corbières will use up to nineteen grape varieties in their wines: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvedre, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino (Rolle), Piquepoul Blanc, Piquepoul Noir, Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Lledoner Pelut, and Muscat Blanc. Carignan is historically the grape of reference in Corbières. While not all wines from this region are mind-blowing, the overall quality seems to be higher than several other areas – perhaps it’s the passion and drive of the people working the vineyards, who seem determined to make wines of a modern style, that still attract the attention of staunch purists. One of our personal favorites are the wines from Clos de L’Anhel, if you happen to come across one their labels, do not hesitate to pick it up. The grapes are organically grown and the wine has only 12 gr/l of sulfites, make it almost a “natural” wine.
Your average red wine from this region should be drank at 62*F, rosé at 47*F, and their white wines at 44*F. It can be tough keeping them all at serving temperature, but always remember that the best solution to this problem is an Avintage DIVA wine cabinet, available exclusively through French Corner Cellars.