Discover the Wines of the Languedoc Region

Is it August yet? I’ll be traveling to Montpellier, Bezier and Carcassonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in a few weeks and I can’t wait!! The Languedoc isn’t as famous when it comes to wine as say Burgundy or Champagne, but the Southwestern French region is one of the largest and oldest wine-producing area in France. Two wines that I personally love from the Languedoc are Corbière reds and rosés. The Languedoc, which spans the Mediterranean coastline from Provence to the France’s border with Spain, enjoys a warm and sunny weather, with 320 days of sunshine Languedoc Day infographica year, and produces some wonderful rosés. 

Since today is #LanguedocDay, an occasion for wine lovers around the world to celebrate and share their appreciation for the AOPs from the regions on social media event, here are the wines that Languedoc is famous for: 

LIMOUX

The sparkling wines from the region around the town of Limoux, south of the Medieval walled city of Carcassonne, claim to be the bubbly with the oldest mention in official records. Take that Champagne 😉 

Picpoul de pinetPICPOUL DE PINET

The production of the world famous Picpoul de Pinet white wine is centered around a few small villages close to the Bassin de Thau, a large saltwater lake that also produces some of the country’s best oysters. This very affordable wine is the south of France’s answer to northern French Muscadet, with a similar lemony zing but sometimes also with a subtle floral whiff.

 

IMG_8411CORBIERES AOC

Corbières is the largest appelation in Languedoc, and one of the better known. You’ll easily spot a bottle of Corbières in most wine stores in town. 95% of the wines produced in that part of the Languedoc are herb scented reds made from Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache, but you can also find a few rosés. All are typically reasonably priced too, though there are more expensive “grande cuvée.   

 

unnamed-1

ROSÉ

Right now, I cannot get enough rosés and the Languedoc produces beautiful pale pink wines that pair especially well with a hot summer day! Try the Chateau de Lascaux rosé cuvée Garrigue 2014 (available at Eye Street Cellars for $12.99,) Domaines Paul Mas (found at Cork & Fork on 14th street,) or a Corbières rosés like Domaine Sainte Eugenie (from Continental Wines).

 

The wines of Languedoc

I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up a bottle of wine from Languedoc today and join the conversation. Follow @languedocwines and use the hashtag #LanguedocDay to chime in!! And, if you want to take it a step further, Bistro d’Oc near metro center is an adorable little restaurant (it’s easy to spot with its purple facade!) that specializes in the food of the Languedoc region. Happy #LanguedocDay! 

 

 

I Took On The Ice Bucket Challenge And You Should Too

Ice Bucket Challenge

Love it or hate it, the Ice Bucket Challenge has taken social media by storm this month and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was challenged to #StrikeOutALS with a bucket and some ice cubes! You can watch my video below, but this isn’t about me. It’s about raising funds for and awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Known in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects a reported 30,000 Americans and an approximate 450,000 people around the world. Like Movember, which aims to “change the face of men’s health” (and raise awareness and funds for prostate and testicaular cancer) throughout November, the #IceBucketChallenge is a fundraising gimmick. Instead of growing a mustache for a month, participants have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice water on their head and post a video of it on social media while calling out 3 more people do to do the same or donate $100 to the ALS Association. (to donate, click here.) Many people, myself included, will do both: complete the challenge AND donate money (again: donate here.) To date, more than 1.2 million #icebucketchallenge videos have been posted on facebook (Source: Time Magazine) and, as of Sunday, the ALS Association said it had received $13.3 million in donations since July 29, compared with $1.7 million during the same period last year. These included donations from about 260,000 new donors (source: The New York Times.)

So, yes, it’s slacktivism, with a dubious long-term impact (read more on this topic here.) Yes, we’re wasting water when parts of the country are going through droughts (let’s not even start on the energy costs associated with making and transporting ice…) And yes, some of the participants forget to even mention the cause in their videos and they never take the extra steps to visit the ALSA’s website and pay more than lip service to actually learning more about Lou Gehrig’s disease and its impact on the daily lives  of patients and their families. But those who do have learned that ALS can strike anyone. That there is no cure for ALS and that the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis. That for ALS patients, the costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease is significant. They also learned that the ALS helps families cope with those costs, through the money that it raises, and that it awards thousands of dollars to individual scientists and private industry to accelerate the development of treatments and a cure for the disease. Even if only a small percentage of the 1.2 million people who posted an #IceBucketChallenge video took those extra steps then the campaign was a success. For that reason, I was thrilled to accept my former colleague Tony’s ice bucket challenge and I hope that many more people will.

 

Please visit www.alsa.org to learn more about Lou Gehrig’s disease and to donate money that will help the fight to treat and cure ALS.

A Taste of Provence: Miraval Rosé

Looking for a good rosé to sip this summer? Here are a few words I thought I’d never say: try Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Château Miraval Cotes de Provence rosé. Last year, the famous pair released the first vintage of rosé from their South of France estate (read more about the Château here), made in partnership with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel. The wine comes from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah and Rolle. And it’s pretty good.

 2013 Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose, brad pitt wine,

Clearly, Brad and Angelina bought  a good vineyard 😉 The rosé is light pale pink and has a lovely floral nose. It retails between $18 to $22 (I found my bottle at Whole Foods), which is a little pricey for this type of rosé. You can definitely find rosé of similar quality at a lower price point, but you’re also paying a premier for the Brandgelina nose…

Do you have a favourite summer rosé? Cheers!