What Did the Romans Ever Do For Us?

Clairette du Languedoc – Appellation D’Origine Protégée – Jean Claude Mas – 2015 – Aldi £5.99

The wines of Languedoc are steeped in history and tradition; grapes have been grown in this area of France since the arrival of the Romans.  Swathes of vines were planted, this area, blessed as it is with a fantastic and varied terroir, ideal climate and acres of space was perfect. The Romans mass produced wines with which to supply the ever-growing and incessantly thirsty empire.

Languedoc is often seen as the largest wine producing area of France, although in the past quality has been an issue. Times have now changed, quality is at its highest level to date, and grape varieties often overlooked are now making a welcome return.

Clairette Blanche is a grape variety grown in The Rhone, Provence and Languedoc, it’s also one of the 13 varieties permitted in the legendary Chanteuneuf du pape. Wines produced using this grape can sometimes be blended with Picpoul, and even Marsanne to offset the dry and low acidity often found with this variety. Clairette is also the principle grape used to make Vermouth.

Jean Claude Mas, produces this unusual example from grapes in and around the the area of Montagnac, a small village in the Herault region of Languedoc. The intriguing thing about this particular example is the usual, flabby or flatness often characteristic of this variety is missing. In its place is a peachy zesty nose, on the pallet, lemon and delicate floral notes. It suffers a lack of acidity, yet for a dry white it’s surprisingly supple. Pairing perfectly with light aperitifs and an ideal partner to Moules et Frites.

This wine, although not a personal favourite is perfect as an inexpensive little slurp. Great as a store cupboard standby, and whilst not winning any medals, is perfect for those summer evenings when you need, just a quick slurp! Great to see this variety appearing on the UK shelves, and something to watch for the future. Bon Weekend!

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