For most summer drinkers, warm weather means rosé. Specifically, Provencal rosé. Even though pink wines exist in every region of the wine world, the very idea of Provence — replete with yacht parties, movie stars, and, yes, lots of pink drink — is pretty irresistible.
Of course, Corsica, Sancerre, California, Spain, and Italy are all familiar sources of great wine. With a little nudge, consumers are open to trying their pinks. But they just don’t evoke that south of France je ne sais quoi, do they?
Well, get ready for Languedoc. Situated just west of Provence on the Mediterranean coast in southern France, this region has beaches, flamingo parks, salt farms, eel fishing, Roman bridges, Cathar fortresses, and more.
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Its reputation in the wine world, however, is a bit uneven. Not too long ago, Languedoc was famous for having too much poorly made wine. Its stellar soils and enviable winemaking conditions lead to overproduction in the post-industrial era.
“While other areas such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and Rhone get a lot of attention and glory,” Steve Prati writes in the Tennessean, “Languedoc has done the heavy lifting, producing fully a third of France’s wine.”
The region’s massive output was mostly of the bulk wine variety, delivering inexpensive juice to a booming global market.
Now, however, Languedoc is in the midst of a wine renaissance. Land is increasing in value, and so top producers in Burgundy and Bordeaux have been investing. It’s also become a hotspot for young producers eager to make a go in a region they can afford. All this makes the region ripe for some exciting wines (not to mention a few old favorites that never really left us).
And Languedoc might just become the name on every rosé fan’s lips. None other than Jon Bon Jovi is waving the flag for the region all summer long, partnering with Gerard Bertrand, a leading biodynamic winemaker in France, and his son, Jesse Bongiovi, on a new pink wine.
Called Diving Into Hampton Water, in an obvious nod to our own East Coast Riviera (Bon Jovi has a house in East Hampton), theirs is Languedoc rosé in a Provencal style. By using the same blend of grapes that have become popular in Provence rosé — Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Syrah — and achieving that perfect, pale-salmon hue, Bertrand and the Bon Jovi/Bongiovi family are producing a wine that will give Provence a run for its money.
Living with a bigger-than-life father, Bongiovi fils will likely have to win over wine skeptics — much in the manner that Languedoc has to overcome its own detractors and diehard Provencal fans. Both prospects are flush with possibility.
Three Languedoc Rosés to Try
Diving Into Hampton Water. Average price: $22
Jean Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé 2017. Average price: $13
Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses. Average price: $16