I've begun doing my homework for a France wine and food trip I'll be taking in a few weeks. We'll be in Languedoc, the area in the southeast part of France where one of my favorite wines comes from. It's called Picpoul de Pinet and it's an inexpensive white that is our summertime house wine. To celebrate being invited on this trip I bought a bottle of it to drink this weekend.
The wine region is quite large, stretching from Montpellier which Ill fly to from Paris, to Narbonne, which we will visit on the trip's fourth day. It takes in more than 120 villages and the vineyards which surround them.
The majority of wines produced in this rather large region - the appellation called Coteaux de Languedoc - are red and rose wines. Many are now being imported to the United States and they are quite reasonably priced. I very much look forward to exploring in depth what the French call terroir at the wine chateaux I'll be visiting. Terroir is about soil, but its also about the kind of stones that make up the soil, the incline the grapes are grown on, the amount of sunlight they receive and a number of other elements that give the wine its characteristic taste. In this country we usually call terroir a micro climate, but that word tends to understate its importance as far as the French are concerned.
I know I'm going to have to learn to spit - something I'm self conscious about - but something those who taste a lot of different wines must do on a regular basis. If I swallowed the wine in every glass of wine I'll be offered there's no way that I would be able to take coherent notes or remember much about it for my story.
The fact is, I'll be taking this trip for the purpose of developing a series of stories about the region and that's not something I could do while tipsy.
So if you and I should cross paths in the next several weeks at a wine tasting, please don't be offended to see me spitting my mouthful of wine into a container after I've tasted it
It's all a part of my job, you see.
Labels: France, Languedoc, picpoul de pinet, terroir, vineyards, wines