Club Mondo, September '21

Domaine Bassac “La Circulade” Cabernet Sauvignon

Languedoc, France

As fall approaches, and the weather (hopefully) starts to get a bit chillier, we’re ready to start diving back into our favorite richer reds. When we planned this month, we really wanted to focus on Bordeaux and the grapes that make it so special. True-blue Bordeaux, though, can definitely get a bit pricer, especially when it comes to some of the Cabernet-driven blends of the left bank. France is a wonderland of different varieties and regions, and if you know where to look, you get some pretty serious bang for your buck. In the Languedoc, growers are able to ripen Bordeaux grapes readily, thanks to the region’s southerly warmth. These wines have Bordeaux written all over them, and are seriously good value. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from the rather-small Domaine Bassac, is all organic and sustainably-grown. It’s a fresher style of Cabernet, but retains Bordeaux’s trademark herbal qualities. Dark fruits, blackcurrant, and anisette round out a well-built but not too fussy wine. Drink me with any beef, from filets to burgers. 

Domaine Granges des Moines Blanc

Costieres de Nimes, France

For the white, we decided to let the Rhone guide us. Known for richer expressions of grapes like Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, we felt that these wines were perfect to welcome fall. White Rhone wine can be pretty affordable, but single-appellation expressions (like those from Saint-Joseph, Saint-Perey, and Condrieu) can easily surpass hundreds of dollars in price. We look to Nimes, an appellation working with a lot of these grapes and making wines of extremely high quality for how reasonable they are. The brother-and-sister team that makes up Domaine Granges des Moines work entirely organically, and with minimal sulfuring and minimal fining and filtering. Their white offering is a blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. Textured and concentrated, but still relatively light on its feet. Begging for chicken, risotto, and roasted cabbage.

Domaine Bassac “La Circulade” Merlot

Languedoc, France

The other major piece of the Bordeaux puzzle, Merlot compliments the structure and robustness of Cabernet by adding a plusher, more elegant side to the wines. Merlot has tanked in value in the US over the last couple of decades—thanks at least in part to Paul Giamatti and Sideways—with many domestic growers going so far as to tear up old Merlot vines in favor of other more marketable varieties (such as Cabernet). France, though, experienced no such wave, and produces some seriously beautiful expressions of the grape. Having this wine side-by-side with Bassac’s Cabernet is a fun look into what makes Bordeaux work. Bassac’s Merlot is extremely pretty, with notes of plums, blackberries, and dried violets. A bit softer than the Cabernet, so more forgiving as far as food pairings go. Richer poultry like duck, or hearty vegetarian fair suit this one perfectly.

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