Abbaye Sylva Plana Les Novices 2011 (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are some selections from Languedoc producers that are setting a high standard of quality for a region known mostly for pleasant, drinkable wines.

— Dave McIntyre

Abbaye Sylva Plana Les Novices 2011

★★★ (Great Value)

Faugeres, Languedoc, France, $18

This venture was formed in 1998, but the vineyards have been producing grapes for centuries. The inky blend of carignan, cinsault and grenache is firmly grounded and well structured, with a center of gravity that draws one inward. The vineyards are certified organic. It’s worth buying several bottles, though apparently Washington area retailers disagree.

Promex/Bacchus: Available on the list in the District at Bistro D’Oc, Montmartre, Posto, Red Hen. Available in Maryland at Wine Source in Baltimore.

Domaine Mont de Marie Vertigo 2011

★★★ (Great Value)

Languedoc, France, $18

Vertigo is a good name for this syrah-carignan blend, made from grapes grown on 80-year-old vines. The wine has an energy and a tension, as though it were walking a high wire over a chasm. Vigneron Thierry Forestier also makes an impressive white, Anatheme, from old-vines ugni blanc.

Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Cork Market. Available in Virginia at Vienna Vintner.

Mas Bruguiere La Grenadiere 2007/2009


Pic Saint-Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc, France, $33

This wine smells like a Hollywood version of the southern French landscape: lavender and thyme carried on a Mediterranean breeze. It has silky texture, with dark-fruit flavors and a subtle, compelling complexity. I tasted the 2009, which is just coming into this market. Retail stores may have the 2007, another good vintage that most likely improves with the extra bottle age.

Promex/Bacchus: Available in the District at Cork Market; on the list at Cork Wine Bar. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; on the list at Fleet Street Kitchen and Waterfront Kitchen in Baltimore.

Le Bouc a Trois Pattes Tempranillo 2010

★★1 / 2 (Great Value)

Haute Vallee de l’Orb, Languedoc, France, $18

Made from vines planted in the 1970s, this unusual example of Spain’s traditional red grape is unmistakably French in a way that’s hard to describe. It has the characteristic tobacco notes of tempranillo, yet also some of the lavender and thyme common to red wines from Languedoc and Provence. Intriguing and delicious.

Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Cork Market. 

Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette 2011

★★ (Great Value)

Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc $19 A blend of grenache and carignan with a soupcon of syrah, it tastes of blackberries and violets, with an appealing earthiness that gives it a full-bodied texture and keeps it from being too jammy and sweet. 

Elite: Available in the District at Arrowine & Spirits, Cork & Fork, MacArthur Beverages, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill; on the list at Bistro Bis, Bistro Napoleon, Bistro le Zinc, Le Chat Noir, Le Grenadier, Kafe Leopold Konditorei, Mio, the Pig, Terasol. Available in Virginia at Arrowine & Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria and McLean).