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Subscribe to BT, and top up just S$19.90 for two Roche Mazet wines
FRENCH wine may be dominated by the regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy in terms of mindshare, but Languedoc-Roussillon has both size and history on its side.
This sprawling region in the South of France was the first to be cultivated with grapes, by the Romans. It is also collectively France's largest wine producer, so it is both the oldest and biggest.
And when you top up S$19.90 (delivery and GST included) to a one-year subscription (btsub.sg/winepromo) to The Business Times, we will send you two value-for-money examples of Languedoc-Roussillon wine from award-winning producer Roche Mazet: a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Chardonnay, both from Roche Mazet's Cuvee Speciale range.
Both represent quintessentially French grape varieties, and are made in approachable styles. Each bottle retails for S$52 from local distributor Asia Wine Network, for a combined value of S$104.
But Languedoc-Roussillon has suffered from a bit of a branding problem. In the past few decades, it has had a reputation for producing lower-end wines - most of which are labelled IGP Pays d'Oc, which is a generic appellation for table wine.
The Pays d'Oc label only indicates a quality floor, not a quality ceiling, so it offers an opportunity to snag value-for-money gems that label snobs might miss.
Take the Roche Mazet Cuvee Speciale Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, for example, the 2016 vintage of which won gold awards in the Lyon International and Gilbert & Gaillard International competitions. Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape in famous Left Bank Bordeaux blends, not to mention being the star of California's Napa Valley and South Australia's Coonawarra region.
Some higher-end French Cabernets are too tartly tannic to be drunk until they have been cellared for a good decade or more, but the Roche Mazet Cuvee Speciale was clearly made to be drunk young. It is fruity without being in your face, and has just enough tannin and structure to go with both white and red meats, while still being enjoyable on its own.
As it is 12.5 per cent alcohol, it does not feel heavy. And one advantage of gentle tannins is that it allows this red to be drunk with mildly spicy food, though you would still want to avoid pairing this with a full-on curry.
Then there is the Roche Mazet Cuvee Speciale Chardonnay 2017, the 2016 vintage of which won a gold at the international Mundus Vini competition. White wines from Burgundy can be some of the most expensive - and exquisite - in the world, and they are mostly made from Chardonnay. Granted, Roche Mazet Cuvee Speciale is not a Burgundy Grand Cru, but it is good value.
The great thing about Chardonnay is its versatility. It can go with food traditionally paired with white wine, such as lightly-cooked seafood, but it can also complement robustly-flavoured stir-fried noodles. The Roche Mazet Cuvee Speciale is not an oaky beast. Not too much buttered popcorn notes here, despite the wine's rather deep golden colour. But it is not so light as to be overpowered by food. There is enough acidity to cut through the olive oil in a salad or pasta, but not too much zing.
The point is that both wines are a great deal for S$19.90. With The Business Times forging ahead on both print and digital fronts, so is a BT subscription. Get them both together at btsub.sg/winepromo. This promotion will end on March 22.