Gastronomy/Wine. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, discover the wines of the Saint-Chinian appellation

The assets of the region

Planted in the 8th century, decimated by phylloxera in the 19th century, revitalized over the past fifty years, this vineyard of some 3,000 ha stretches out at the foot of the Espinouse massif, to the west of Béziers (Hérault).

It owes the balance of its wines to a strong thermal amplitude, cool and long winters, hot summers, softened by the Mediterranean climate. It owes its character to a mosaic of terroirs, staggered between 150 and 400 meters above sea level and distributed around twenty villages. To the north of the appellation, the schists produce dark, full-bodied, empyreumatic wines reminiscent of Faugères. The clay-limestone soils of the southern part produce lighter wines, with aromas of fruit with, as they age, the appearance of notes of scrubland and spices.

Three colours

Their diversity is expressed in the three colours, even if the reds are in the majority (80%), and in the range of grape varieties. Syrah and Grenache (60% minimum), complemented mainly by Carignan, Mourvèdre and Cinsault, defend the red and rosé colors. In AOC since 2004, the whites (5% of production) make their ranges on Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne and a few more anecdotal grape varieties.

Faced with the seven cooperative cellars, which are in the lead with 60% of production, 85 private cellars, including around thirty conducted organically, display an excellent quality/price ratio. 5 € on average for wines from cooperatives, 10 to 15 € for private estates where the aging potential generally meets the decade.

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Notoriety to conquer

With such assets, why doesn’t Saint-Chinian enjoy greater notoriety? The 40th anniversary of the AOC and the various festive events contribute to this. Otherwise, discover the appellation on the 2017 or 2018. What to wait for soon to enjoy the 2021, an exceptional vintage.

Among the cuvées we tasted, here are some essentials: Plein gres or Acutum (Mas de Cynanque), Sortilège or Monmajou (Les Eminades estate), Les Païssels (Païssels estate), Mézura or Corteza (Lauzeta estate), Terre de my father (clos Bagatelle), The Hanging Gardens (Cambis estate), Secrets of the Gods (Château Castigno), The Schists (Borie La Vitarèle estate), Campanil (Pradels Quartioroni estate).

Such wines are ideally experienced with red meats or poultry, more standard dishes such as curry pork or Greek chicken. You will appreciate the lighter ones, with mixed salads or a charcuterie platter. In between, try them with lasagna or a simple herb omelet.

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