The Coustals have once again fashioned a sophisticated mouth-filling Cru de Languedoc in their 2019 Château Sainte Eulalie La Livinière La Cantilène (55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Carignan). From the moment it exits the bottle, the wine’s deep impenetrable color beckons the taster. Seductive aromatics grace the nose, while savory flavors of blackberry, cherry, ripe plums, and vanilla ingratiate themselves to the eager palate. However, the best is yet to come, as the 2019 La Livinière La Cantilène will unfold over time in the glass, almost surreptitiously, revealing hints of dark chocolate, forest berries, and wild herbs on a flow of rich tannins. Bold but not brazen, the Coustals’ 2019 La Livinière La Cantilène is already seductive in its youth, yet it will continue to develop further in the bottle for those patient enough to lay a bottle or two down. For optimal enjoyment, afford Château Sainte-Eulalie’s 2019 Minervois La Livinière La Cantilène 20-30 minutes of aeration before consuming it at cool room temperature (58º-62º F). Anticipated maturity: 2023-2029. Salut!
The Coustals’ 2019 Château Sainte-Eulalie Minervois La Livinière La Cantilène hails from another fine vintage and is made to accompany the finest fare from France’s most renowned chefs. La Cantilène is the Coustal’s flagship wine and it is featured in a growing number of France’s top restaurants. Roast quail, served with a savory wild mushroom sauce; roast leg of lamb rubbed with garlic, olive oil, and Provencal herbs; and authentic Provencal cassoulet all make splendid partners to Château Sainte-Eulalie’s savory, mouth-filling 2019 La Livinière La Cantilène. However, one need not be a Cordon Bleu trained chef or even an accomplished country cook to delight in the 2019 La Cantilène’s many attributes. Simply prepared dishes made with chicken, beef, lamb, or pork pair nicely. Traditional Mediterranean favorites made with beans or lentils work well, too, as do cheese and tomato laden dishes such as Eggplant Parmigiana and lasagna. Moreover, Château Sainte Eulalie’s 2019 Minervois La Livinière La Cantilène Minervois is a natural in the company of cow, goat, and sheep’s milk cheeses. Pecorino, Brie, and Chèvre all pair beautifully with Sainte Eulalie’s outstanding 2019 La Cantilène. Add toasted walnuts to the cheese selection and you will almost certainly need to have more than one bottle of this exceptional Minervois on hand. Bon appétit!
Château Sainte Eulalie has played an integral part in the restoration of Minervois as a premier appellation for world class wines and is the recipient of the first Cru of Languedoc. Under the ownership of Laurent and Isabelle Coustal, Château Sainte Eulalie ranks in the top echelon of Languedoc producers. This dynamic couple has resurrected and restored the ancient Minervois vineyards surrounding their domaine above the village of La Livinière, including the old vines at Château Eulalie. The Coustals grow Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault, the four traditional and most important grape varietals of Languedoc and the neighboring Rhóne Valley.
Isabelle and Laurent Coustal serve as winemakers and artisans in residence at their 34 hectare (84 acre) Château Sainte Eulalie estate. They fashion several wines from old vines, some of which are a century old, including Plaisir d’Eulalie and La Cantilène from La Livinière (this month’s selection). La Livinière has long been regarded as the finest terroir in Minervois, but it has now been recognized as an official “Cru de Languedoc” and is entitled to its own appellation. La Cantilène is Château Sainte Eulalie’s flagship wine and like all of Château Sainte Eulalie’s wines it is hand harvested from old vines and is the product of organic viticulture and Certified Sustainable. It is bottled unfiltered in order to preserve its freshness and rich, haunting flavors. After more than a decade of outstanding work at Château Eulalie, the Coustals have earned a reputation as two of the Languedoc’s finest and most consistent winemakers.
Languedoc is the world’s largest single viticultural area, encompassing many appellations and distinctive sub regions – all of which are capable of producing fine wine. This sprawling viticultural wonderland stretches all the way from the Spanish border in the southwest, within sight of the towering Pyrenees, to the banks of the Rhône River far to the northeast. Languedoc cuts a huge swath of dry coastal plain and sheltered mountains from which flow the guts and the glory of French viticulture.
The Languedoc, whose name is synonymous with the language of southern France, was the first part of ancient Gaul to be extensively planted to the vine and has remained extensively cultivated for millennia. For centuries the Languedoc reigned as France’s most important viticultural area, but the region suffered greatly with the advent of phylloxera throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, causing the Languedoc to languish in the doldrums of viticultural obscurity, unless of course one considers every day plonk as a beverage of choice. Once the proud bastion of French viticultural excellence, the Languedoc became the world’s major source of huge quantities of insipid wines, whose main virtues were none other than high alcohol and cheap prices – all of which were subsidized by the French government. Fortunately, the paradigm has again shifted. The Languedoc is quickly returning to its former glory. The worldwide demand for cheap, coarse wine no longer exists; the emphasis today is on quality rather than quantity. In addition, the only official incentive for grape growers is to plant premium varietals, move back to the ancient hillside sites, and produce less wine of greater quality. Since the 1970s, a true viticultural Renaissance has been sweeping the Languedoc and the results are nowhere more apparent than in the favored appellation of Minervois and its prized cru La Livinière.
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