Guitar Aficionado

The Oeno File: 2006 Domaine Des Jougla Ancestrale, Saint-Chinian


By Chris Gill

Way back in the 14th Century, hospitals in Paris used to prescribe wines produced near the village of Saint-Chinian in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region with the belief that the wines had superior healing powers. While today’s Saint-Chinian wines may not be the cure-alls they once were thought to be, they’re just what the doctor order if you’re looking for a good French wine with tons of character, excellent food pairing potential, and an affordable price to make you forget the European market meltdown blues.

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Domaine Des Jougla is a family-operated winery that has tended vines in the foothills of Saint-Chinian since 1595. The grapes for their Ancestrale wine—a blend of Mourvèdre (40 percent), Grenache (30 percent), and Syrah (30 percent)—come from a vineyard located near the Mediterranean sea where the climate is somewhat milder than the sun-soaked hills of the Languedoc’s inland areas. As a result, the character of Ancestrale is more like wines produced in the Southern Rhone than its Languedoc brethren.

The earthy, gamey, smoky personality of Mourvèdre is boldly front and center, making the wine reminiscent of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines from the Seventies and early Eighties before many producers started favoring fruit over funk. The Grenache and Syrah tame the Mourvèdre’s tannins and provide alluring overtones of blackberry, cassis, and cherry fruit. The flavors are quite bold and pronounced, but with only 13.5 percent alcohol this wine will not overpower food. Selling for less than $20 per bottle, Ancestrale is a daily drinker to buy by the case and share often while entertaining friends and family.

For more information visit Domaine Des Jougla