Cabardès AC is a small, lesser-known Languedoc Appellation, north west of Carcassonne (11 Aude, Occitanie). Only upgraded to AOC in 1999, it is the only appellation which marries the Atlantic/Bordeaux grape varietals with those from the Languedoc/Mediterranean.
Hence at least 40% of the blend must be of Merlot or Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon, and a minimum of a further 40% from Syrah or Grenache – with the balance up to 20% being from the Cot (Auxerrois or Malbec) or Fer Servadou (also known as Braucol in Gaillac and Pinenc in Madiran!). This does at least provide some meaningful distinction in style from the rest of the Languedoc Appellations – I admit to struggling to differentiate between many Minervois, Corbières or Coteaux du Languedoc wines, as good as they can be.
UK merchant Majestic Wine stocks the wines of Chateau de Pennautier ” a plummy, elegant wine with surprising depth of flavour and a good length”.
Ch de Pennautier wineChateau de Pennautier (Pennautier, 11 Aude, Occitannie) itself looks to be well worth a visit – not only tastings but also a wine bar and restaurant. It all looks very polished – and although I can sneer at the marketing emphasis of new world wineries, it is good to see that some French vineyards are trying hard to make your visit a more memorable and enjoyable experience than standing around in a draughty cellar adorned with rusty old tools and ancient barrels (or being shown still more stainless steel vats). To do this without turning it into some sort of vinous theme park with kitsch souvenirs or heavy sales patter needs some style, which is what the French can do when they want.
Importantly though, the wine has to be good!

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