This fresh, young red from Languedoc belies the southern French region’s reputation as a repository of powerful, high-alcohol wines that demand the heartiest of foods.
Jean Orliac’s 2020 “Le Loup dans la Bergerie,” which loosely translates to “The Wolf in the Hen House,” is light and uncomplicated but shows quintessential Languedoc dark fruit and garrigue, the term for fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender that grow just about everywhere in the region.
Think of it as Languedoc’s answer to Beaujolais — not the more complex “cru” wines like Morgon or Chénas that have become dramatically more expensive in the last couple of years, but lighter wines like Beaujolais-Villages or those simply labeled “Beaujolais.”
Relatively inexpensive, unpretentious, and often delicious.
It weighs in at a modest 12.5 percent ABV. And the price tag is not much higher, just $13 or so. Translation: a wine that’s quaffable, easy on the wallet, and great to have on hand as a fun red for summer drinking and beyond.
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah, it’s aged in stainless steel tanks without oak exposure, which keeps it fresh and lively and lends it to a slight chill that will make it even more appealing on warm summer evenings.
Notes of ripe raspberry, black cherry, and wild blueberry are punctuated by touches of black pepper, cocoa, and those herbal notes that find their way into so many Languedoc reds.
This is a highly versatile wine that will pair well with a wide range of foods — from barbecued chicken and duck breasts, to burgers and pizza, to grilled, full-flavored fish like salmon, swordfish, and tuna.
Jean Orliac started his winery Domaine de l’Hortus in the Pic Saint-Loup appellation of Languedoc back in 1978. The Loup dans la Bergerie range of wines is produced from grapes purchased from vineyards just outside the appellation and is hence classified as a Vin de Pays from the Hérault department of Languedoc.
Names and designations aside, the red Loup dans la Bergerie is a must-try.