Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige Rouge 2015
Chateau Puech-Haut has been on the critic’s radar for some time – which makes sense since the property has employed Michel Rolland, Claude Gros and now Philippe Cambie as consulting enologist. Visionary owner Gérard Bru spares no expense in his quest for excellence. Located quite close to Pic Saint-Loup, in Saint-Drézéry, Puech-Haut is near the far western border of the Rhône valley and benefits from both its proximity to the Mediterranean and the rugged, mountainous interior of France. There are slightly over 50 hectares planted with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Carignan Blanc. The wines from Puech-Haut are rich and lush but also show the earthy and mineral character of the rocky clay-limestone soils of the region.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.