Not far from our home in the Languedoc-Roussillon, you'll find the salt beds of the Salin de Gruissan near the Mediterranean. Salt has been harvested here for centuries, as far back as the Roman Empire.
The sun, wind, and dry climate of the Mediterranean create the perfect alchemy for the area's renowned salt production, including fleur de sel, an artisanal seasoning used in fabulous local seafood dishes.
The salt fields were originally marshes bounded by sea waters. The pink hues of the "Salin" are from the magical dunaliella salina, an algae that thrives in high-saline environments.
Our favorite restaurant in this area is La Cambuse du Saunier, right on the edge of the salt beds. In this video, you'll see our waiter skillfully fillet a salt-crusted Turbot, a fish native to the Mediterranean. (We suggest using earbuds because of the festive background noise).
We recommend La Rochelierre Camille Blanc with this dish and other salt-crusted fish dishes. Bon appétit!
Our new rosés have arrived! Languedoc rosés are some of the best in the world and tend to sell out quickly.These refreshing rosés are perfect for the warm weather, enhancing the fresh flavors of summer and keeping the mood lively.
This month, we've paired a Magical Puff Pastry Tomato Tart (recipe below) with Le Rosé Gariguette, Chateau de L'Engarran Rosé, or (and!) Asphodèles Rosé. Enjoy!
We are thrilled that our new rosés have arrived! These beauties tend to sell out quickly, so we invite you to check them out here.
Languedoc rosés are some of the best in the world. What gives them their gorgeous pink, peach, and rose colors? How is a rosé wine made, versus a red or a white?
Wine color is derived from the pigment in grape skins. The shade depends on how long the skins are in contact with the juice prior to fermentation. White wines have little or no contact, whereas red wines have considerable contact. Rosés fall somewhere in between and can exhibit a range of lovely pink and orange hues within a span of a few hours.
The two main vinification methods for rosés are pressurage and saignée.
With pressurage, freshly harvested grapes are loaded into a tank or a press for several hours and then gently pressed to drain the juice. The juice is chilled in a tank, yeast is added, and slow alcoholic fermentation begins.
With saignée, rather than being pressed by machinery, the individual grapes are crushed by the weight of the clusters themselves. The resulting juice, along with the skins, remains in the tank for several hours.
The tank is then “bled” (thus the term saignée) through a tap at the base of the tank. The juice is chilled and yeast added, initiating a slow fermentation that converts the juice sugars into alcohol.
As with all Languedoc-Roussillon winemaking, innovation and creativity help create these world-class rosés.
Domaine De Saumarez
Fleur De Liz Rosé
Named for the winemaker’s wife, this beautiful salmon pink wine is made from organic Syrah and Grenache grapes harvested in the cool early morning.
Delicious pomegranate and strawberry flavors. Great on its own or with a summer barbecue!
Domaine Clos d’Elle
2018 Entrecoeur Rosé
All six of the tasters at one of our rosé tastings this spring chose this wine!
This soft peach-colored rosé is made from grapes in the 2nd year of organic conversion—Syrah and, interestingly, Viognier. The result is stunning! Wild strawberry flavors and sooo soft in the mouth.
Music, especially jazz, is one of the many great reasons to visit the Languedoc-Roussillon, the Supernatural South of France.
It's one of life's great truths — jazz and wine go hand in hand. And when the two meet at one of the many outdoor Languedoc music festivals this time of year, the result is a bon vivant's dream!
Late summer is when the Languedoc-Roussillon region celebrates with wine and music, before the harvest begins. People come from all over to attend festivals, enjoy world-class musicians, and taste fabulous wines.
In fact, today we're attending the Fiest'A Sète, a jazz and world music festival where we're listening to the Cuban artists Omara Portuondo and Ana Carla Maza. You'll find some wonderful video clips of these talented performers here and here.
Here's a shot of the view from our seats at Fiest'A Sète, at the aptly named Theatre de la Mer...
Another festival well worth checking out is Jazz à l'Hospitalet, which pairs wine, outdoor dining, and music. Lisa Simone (daughter of Nina Simone) was one of this year's artists. Get a taste of Jazz à l'Hospitalet here.
And the late summer feast of music and wine goes beyond jazz! Festapic takes place at the base of Pic Saint-Loup mountain. The first event was organized to support the winemakers of Pic Saint Loup who'd suffered a devastating hailstorm. It was such a success that it's now entering year three — a beautiful example of how the rich cultural expressions of wine and music enhance and nourish each other.
We hope you're enjoying your own outdoor music festivals, wherever you are — with wine!
For the perfect summer festival experience we recommend:
Domaine Terrasses de Gabrielle
2018 SOIF L'IDÉAL
This "ideal" thirst quencher blends the acidity of Grenache Blanc and Vermentino with the honeyed pear and peach flowers of Roussanne and Viognier.
We also recommend the seven light and lovely rosés that just arrived in our latest shipment. These will be available starting August 5! Stay tuned...