Import Selection: Chateau Chariot, 1988. Corbieres

With the rising cost of the dol­lar on the international money mar­ket and the increase tax liability that has hit the wine industry, many people have asked how “The Club” will be able to maintain the quality of the monthly import se­lection. Good question! One an­swer lies between the sandy beach­es of the Mediterranean and the southern spurs of the Massif Cen­tral; the Languedoc grape growing region of France. As discussed in previous newsletters (see May 1991) the Languedoc is known primarily as the largest grape growing region in France. However, when competition stiffened in the early eighties and wine con­sumption in France decreased, the emphasis among growers in the Languedoc shifted from quantity to quality. Flatland vineyards were destroyed and planting was moved to the slopes where grape yield is lower but fruit quality is higher. New vinification techniques were employed to raise the overall quali­ty of wine produced. The caliber of wine changed so dramatically that many regions of the Langue­doc were awarded appelation con­- Vlee status in 1985. Corbieres is one of those regions.

This month’s import selection comes from the Corbieres region of the Languedoc and is bottled by the Cave de Octaviana at Ornai­sons. The grapes are a product of many different growers’ hillside vineyards where the minimum age of the vine is required to be 60 years. The wine is 100% Carig­nan.

Carignan is only grown in any quantity in California and France but has the dubious distinction of producing more red wine than any other grape in the world. If vines are grown for high yields (of grapes) the resulting wine of those grapes can be acidic and fruitless; this is jug wine mentality. If the wines are grown to a low yield and proper vinification techniques are used the wine can be fruity and long lasting; such is the case with our selection. What gives this wine its complexity and depth is the use of carbonic maceration and 18 months of oak ageing. Carbonic maceration (whole cluster fermen­tation)by itself produces shortlived fruity red wines. The ageing in oak adds longevity and dimension.

The color is deep red to ma­genta showing nice and clear. The nose is rich with plums and cher­ries. The body is medium with fruit infusion in the middle. It fin­ishes dry with a touch of tanin but still soft.

Serve at room tempera­ture with red pasta dishes or beef.

Cellaring Notes: Drink now through 1992.

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