In Le Tour de France today, Australia's Michael Matthews claimed his second stage win and the third one for Sunweb after his team pulled the bunch almost all day to keep Marcel Kittel behind. The stage finish was in Romans-sur-Isère, north of the eastern portion of Languedoc where terroir driven wines of great quality and value are produced. The name Languedoc comes from when the inhabitants spoke Occitan, in which "oc" rather than "oil" was the word for "yes", hence "langue d'oc." The three sections of Languedoc are Aude, Herault, and Gard, all three regions are classified as having Mediterranean climates; their long and dry summers counteracted by the cooling breezes of the Atlantic, especially around the western hills of Carcassonne where the cooler climate creates wines with finer acidity. The wines, when made by individuals and not in one of the 300 cooperatives in the area, have great Bordelaise structure and Rhone characteristics. Languedoc's wine making history is long and full of heart ache, starting in 125 BC when the Romans planted vines in the Narbo colony, today's Narbonne. The region benefited from the Roman transportation from the Aude into the Garonne to reach Roman troops in the Acquitane. Roman emperor, Domitian, soon put a stop to the booming Languedoc wine economy forcing the region into a stalled state until the Languedoc Monks revived the wine industry. Today, the only Abbey creating wine is the Abbaye de Valmagne. In 1666, production increased with the establishment of the Dutch Wine Trade and construction of the port of Sete which facilitated transportation of sweet Clairette and Picquepoul to England and the Netherlands. The region benefited from increased trade once the transportation avenues opened directly to Lyon and Bordeaux in the 1800s. Unfortunately, phylloxera hit just as Languedoc was establishing a name for itself as a modern-day wine producing region. Knowing the region had great potential, the inhabitants worked without rest until a solution to phylloxera was created, making the Languedoc the first region in France to be fully reconstituted after the devastation of the louse. Languedoc threw itself into full production, becoming the supplier of 44% total of wine production for the country. Soon, the region was over farming the vines and the wines were thin and watery, causing the French farmers to source wine from Algeria to create more robust products. This fraud caused a taint to the reputation of the wines and coupled with the social crisis of 1907, the wine region was once again devastated. The winemakers and land owners took to the streets in violent protest, a system of rebellion recently seen in Languedoc as the riots in the 2000s proved. When the winemakers are left in peace to make their wines, they benefit from a variety of soil types: rocky foothills of Montagne Noir, limestone massifs, schist, clay, purple clay, marls, and sandstone. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignane are widely planted, producing great wines, especially in the vines of higher elevations. Other varietals well-liked in the area are Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Rolle, Viognier, Clairette, and Picpoul. The last two produce Clairette de Languedoc and Picpoul de Pinet, both embraced by the AOC as they reflect Languedoc tradition. Winemakers from Burgundy and Australia started flocking to the region once the ACs of Corbieres, Minervois, and Coteaux du Languedoc were established in 1985. Only Coteaux de Languedoc was elevated to AOC status. This region is worth exploring! As mentioned, they're a great value and the winemakers in the area could use our support! To learn more about wine from Cork & Fork visit us for a tasting, listed here: (Les Vins AOC du Languedoc)

Cork & Fork : Retail Wine Store Representing Wine From Around the Globe 

Locations: Logan Circle, Washington DC; Bethesda, Maryland; Gainesville, Virginia

With today being a rest day at the Le Tour de France, we bring our focus home to the state of Virginia! The Virginia wine industry continues to grow, with average prices per ton for vinifera varietals coming in at a little under $2500 per. The most popular vinifera varietals in 2016, based on tons produced, are Cabernet Franc with 929, Chardonnay with 760, Merlot with 620, Vidal Blanc with 546, Cabernet Sauvignon with 533, Petit Verdot with 495, and Viognier with 435. Where are all these grapes coming from? Within the five wine producing regions in Virginia, Loudoun County in Northern Virginia produces the most tonnage of all counties, coming through at 1,385 tons for 2016. The Northern Virginia district comes through with 2,710 total tons but is overshadowed, albeit only slightly, by their neighbor to the south, Central Virginia, where the annual total for 2016 was 2,744 tons. Based on production numbers alone, the most widely planted counties in Virginia are Loudoun, Albemarle, Orange, and Nelson. Other counties in the western, eastern, and southern regions of Virginia are planting smaller amounts with the reason perhaps being alternative, lower-maintenance crop dominance or lack of general interest in the concept of grape production from land owners. Chardonnay is the most widely planted varietal in Virginia, weighing in with the second most amount of tonnage. The varietal does well in the various geographical regions of Virginia, from well-drained, sandy loam bojac soil sections of the Eastern Shore to loamy clay overlying limestone shale sections of Northern Virginia. It responds well with about 5 tons per acre being produced with an average harvest. There are minimal risks with Chardonnay in Virginia, despite its cold sensitivities and first bud losses, it is ready to produce balanced grapes. Vineyards with adequate canopy management avoid the risk of botrytis and further effective vineyard management keeps the other threats of grapevine yellow and powdery mildew at bay. The fertile Cabernet Franc produces the most amount of grapes with fewer crop bearing acres than Chardonnay. As this proves, it offers great yields, but that’s not its only positive. The varietal is relatively cold injury and rot resistant, but off-sets these positives with a couple of negatives: the excessive canopies require higher maintenance in the vines, leaf roll is a common threat for the vines, and the varietal is known to suffer from Bunch Stem Necrosis. Vineyard managers have a good handle on vine management for the varietal, as the production numbers demonstrate. Field experts declared varieties Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Touriga Nacional, Fer Servadou, and Tannat to be planted with caution in the state, as these varietals do well in fewer locations than the most recommended vines of Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat Ottonel, Malvasia Bianca, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Vidal, Chardonel, Traminette, Chambourcin, and Norton. Varietals recommended to be avoided in Virginia, according to these professionals, are Gewurztraminer, Nebbiolo, Riesling, Sangiovese, Seyval, and Pinot Noir. As always, these declarations are to be taken with a grain of salt. As we have seen, there are great bottlings on the Virginia wine market today made with some of these grapes. Proper soil analysis, excellent vineyard management, good weather blessings, and winemaking knowledge all play an enormous role in the final production of a wine, regardless of the varietal. To learn more or simply to taste wine, visit us for a masterclass or wine tasting. Dates and times listed here (References: and

Thurs, june 13


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