Domaine D’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux Languedoc (Languedoc – Roussillon, France) “Les Cocalières” 2016

($26, Kermit Lynch):  Consumers need to learn more seemingly obscure geographic names.  Wine regulators in the Languedoc have identified 34 sub-regions, six of which no longer carry even Languedoc on the label and are referred to as cru, that produce more distinctive wines.  Another 28, such as Montpeyroux, are allowed to put their name on the label. This system is analogous to the hierarchy in the Rhône Valley, so think of Montpeyroux as equivalent, at least in pedigree, to one of named Côtes du Rhône-Villages.  Although potentially confusing to the consumer, the quality in the bottle, at least for this wine, which stands head and shoulders above most wines labeled just Languedoc, makes understanding the system worthwhile.  Domaine D’Aupilhac, one of the top producers in the region, uses the typical trio of Mediterranean grapes, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, for this single vineyard bottling.  The vineyard sits at about 1000 feet above sea level and faces northwest, both of which mitigate against over ripeness in the grapes.  The wine conveys both power and herbal earthy notes.  What’s amazing is its great freshness that imbues a liveliness often missing in wines from the south of France.  Quite suave and refined, I can’t think of a better match for grilled leg of lamb this summer.
93 Michael Apstein Jul 3, 2018