Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hecht & Bannier - Great Negociant Wines from the Languedoc

Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier made their first wine in 2001, but their Hecht & Bannier brand is already by my estimation one of the most formidable negociant labels from the Languedoc along with Gerard Bertrand and Calmel & Joseph. A negociant sources wine or fruit from many different sources and then blends their own regional wines for their own brand. I've found these wines to be especially consistent and well-made, likely attributable to the blending skill of Francois Bannier, who go his start at Veuve Cliquot in Champagne, where blending for consistency is truly an art.

Hecht and Bannier 2013 Minervois ($25) A blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Carignan. The nose is lush, full of dried flowers, dried cherry, blackberry pie and dried herb notes, full of flavor, but also elegant and light on the palate. We drank it with grilled lamb chops seasoned with garlic and rosemary and it was a heavenly match. What a great value from this Languedoc negociant. (90 Points)

Hecht and Bannier 2015 Cotes de Provence Rose ($15) I've heard some people complain recently that rose wines from Provence are overhyped. Don't believe it. These wines are the benchmarks for pink wine. This negociant rose is delicious with lovely, delicate rose petal, orange zest, strawberry and kaffir lime leaf notes. It clocks in at a robust 13.5% alcohol according to the label, but it carries it easily, and it's as refreshing as it is flavorful. Highly recommended. (90 Points)

Hecht and Bannier 2015 Languedoc Rose ($13) A lovely, spot-on dry South of France rose wine made from a blend of 40% Syrah, 35% Cinsault and 25% Grenache with a light pink / salmon hue and mineral-laced strawberry and rose petal notes. It's restrained and focused and just right for a summer afternoon either all by itself or accompanied by a watermelon and tomato salad or gazpacho. (90 Points)

Hecht and Bannier 2014 Languedoc Rouge ($14) A lovely entry level red blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignane from the Languedoc with juicy blue, red and black fruit, rosemary graphite and black pepper notes, a medium-weight red with a great sense of place. This wine is a steal. (89 Points)

Hecht and Bannier 2015 Languedoc Blanc ($12) A pretty, refreshing dry white blend of Piquepoul Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc with melon, green apple and and honeysuckle aromas, medium-bodied with a bit of richness contributed by the Roussanne. I should have had this with the scallops I cooked the other night. (87 Points)

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