l'Hortus Domaine L'Hortus La Bergerie Rouge 2007
Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Deep red color with garnet glints, strong and complex nose: notes of ripped red fruits, vanilla, liquorice, soft spices. Very well balanced in mouth: a strong and powerful first impression but with very soft tannins, a spicy and long finish, liquorice and ripped fruits, vanilla and few mentholated notes.
The Wine Advocate - "The l’Hortus red 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup Bergerie Classique is – as usual for this cuvee – around 2:1 tank vinified Syrah-Grenache, with roughly 10% barrel-aged Mourvedre. Beautifully scented with ripe black fruits, marjoram, and rosemary, this offers an invigorating sense of attack and a refreshing palate of tart fresh black raspberry and cassis, underlain by grilled meats. There is a lovely, muscular leanness here, and this should perform admirably at table for several years. My notes refer to the first and smaller of two bottlings, but the unassembled components intended for the later bottling promised a result at least as impressive. For a similarly laudatory review of the 2006 Bergerie rouge, see issue 178."
A young agronomist studying at the University of Montpellier back in the 70’s discovered an abandoned piece of land nestled between two facing limestone cliffs. The grape vines had grown wild and the huge olive trees were ancient; it was obvious to Jean Orliac that this location had been cultivated in ages past, producing the classic Mediterranean trio - olives, wine and wheat, and that this would be an ideal site to produce a "Grand Vin," the dream of this passionate man.
Starting with 5 hectares and acquiring another 50 soon after, Jean Orliac named his property "l’Hortus", the Latin translation for "The Garden", as an homage to the land and its tradition. Early on, his grapes were transported to the local Cave Cooperative for pressing; in 1990 his cellars were built which allowed him to vinify and bottle on his own property. View all l'Hortus Wines
About Languedoc-RoussillonView a map of Languedoc-Roussillon wineries (LAHN-guh-dock) (ROO-see-yohn) France. The region stretches along the land above the Mediterranean, bordered by the Rhone river on the east and almost reaching Spain on the west. Only 10% of the wines from the area are AC, with the remaining wines often landing in the Vin de Pays or Vin de Table category. Wines in the Vin de Pays category are classified here as Vin de Pays d'Oc.
Notable Facts80% of the wines here are red. The grapes of the neighboring Rhone region are popular, with the focus on Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and to a lesser extent, Carignan. White grapes include Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette and other white Rhone varieties. Parts of the region are also enjoying success with international varieties like Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. For many of these international style wines, you'll see the grape variety on the label – very un-French, but since they qualify as Vin de Pays d'Oc, it's allowed. Not so for the AC wines of the region, which are relegated to using most of the regional varieties and labeling their bottles by region. Appellations in the Languedoc include Corbières, Minervois, Costières de Nimes, Banyuls and the largest of them all, Coteaux de Languedoc. Corbières and Minervois are found on the western side of the region and produce sometimes very concentrated red wines. Costières de Nimes lies just southwest of the Rhone and produces wines of comparable character. Banyuls creates decadent fortified wines with Grenache and Coteaux de Langeudoc does triple duty, using international and regional grapes to produce white, red and rose wines that are often fantastic values.
RoussillonA region located between the Spanish border and Languedoc, Roussillon is often mentioned in conjunction with Languedoc, but is an entirely separate, albeit smaller, area. Producing white, red and rose wines, Roussillon is in the Catalonia region, which bleeds into Spain and France. The area has equal amount of Spanish influence as it does French. It is most well-known for Banyuls, a potent dessert wine made from concentrated old-vine Grenache. Vines are old and planted on steep, rocky, terraced hillsides overlooking the coast. The region is also making still wines, mostly from Grenache but with a good amount of Carignan as well.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.