The Languedoc wine region includes a fair bit of coastline along the Mediterranean South of France. Along with the par for the course high expectations that one might have of the cuisine from there, the oysters are ridiculously good, and gigantic.
For folks who are seasonal wine drinkers and by that I mean, reds in the winter, and whites in the summer, oyster season, which is typically in the months that end in the letter r. (This guideline has loosened up a bit too.) Oysters then are the perfect excuse to crack open a refreshing and crisp white wine. Classic oyster pairings include French classics like Chablis, Champagne and Muscadet. There are a couple perfect wines from the Languedoc that go along just as well.
Picpoul de Pinet
In vineyards right along the coast, and just off from the Basin de Thau, a massive lagoon just inland from the sea, are the concentration of Picpoul de Pinet grapes planted. The maritime air keeps them warm in the evening and cool during the heat of day and pushes the late ripening grape just over the edge towards the end of summer. The wine is crisp, clean and snappy, perfect for the oysters that come from nearby.
Gerard Bertrand is one of the most well known producers in all of the Languedoc and his Picpoul vineyards lie just along the Basin de Thau. The crystalline wine has tinges of green to its hue. The aromatics are cut peach and citrus peel.The palate lends a hint of salinity to a medium weight white wine with flavors of grapefruit and mineral flavors. The acid is fresh and crisp to the finish.
The Picpoul from Cave de Pomerols is made from sourcing from various growers throughout the Picpoul AOC for a wine that captures the style of the region. Vineyards near the Basin de Thau as well as further north come together for a wine with citrus and floral aromas, and a lively, zippy palate that hints at the sea air with its salinity and notes of lemon peel.
The Limoux region in the Languedoc produces wines from four sub-appellations and three of them are sparkling wines only. So this is a region with a great deal of history and tradition around creating a sparkling wine, in fact, the region of Limoux claims to have invented sparkling wine in a nearby Benedictine abbey of Saint Hilaire in 1531. Though those in Champagne may dispute this claim, what is undeniable is the consistent quality that the Limoux wines exhibit, a real indicator of experienced winemakers plying their trade.
From the name to the label to the wine the Faire la Fête screams celebrate, but this wine is also a fantastic culinary accompaniment for a dozen oysters or so. Aromatics are lemon creme and honey and the palate balances creaminess with a nice zip, flavors of lemon creme, key lime and hints of mineral elements.
You’d have to be a real wine geek to know that the only sparkling wine to be found in the cellar of America’s founding father came from Limoux. Or so the story goes. The Cuvee de Thomas Jefferson is a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, a common composition for Limoux. The wine blends the best of both grapes including the mouthfeel and creaminess of the Chardonnay and the bright, zippy character from the Chenin. Aromas of baked bread, honey and white flowers and a palate that echoes the wine’s aromas make this one classy bottle of bubbles;a Jefferson for under a Jackson.