It’s a rarity, but I found myself in Nashville, TN last week. With business entertainment very much on the agenda, I searched for one solid restaurant with a decent wine list and found myself at Flyte World Dining and Wine drinking ($18 ***1/2) 2006 Hecht & Bannier Minervois. This Languedoc-Roussillon stole my attention, and that’s saying a lot considering the inventive food parade, smart wine sensibility ($15 corkage and top wine service), and easy-going hip vibe that envelopes the Flyte dining room. If you end up in Nashville, get over to Flyte and then the only choice you’ll have to make is which wine to bring or order off the list.
The 2006 Hecht & Bannier Minervois was no deal on the list at $50, but I would have been satisfied from a drinking perspective at $75. To think you can buy this wine for less than $20 at retail is mind blowing. The blend is a product of a negociant business specializing in southern French appellations. They purchase already fermented juice from choice producers to blend their own final products guided by regional specificity and a focus on “Mediterannean strength and balancing crispness.” In addition to the Minervois they produce a Saint Chinian, Cotes du Roussillon Village, and Faugeres.
The ’06 Minervois is mainly Syrah, but has some Grenache and even less Carignane and Mourvedre. There is scorched earth and roasted notes on the nose that stirs my memory of the hot powerful sun that beams down unmercifully on the lands of the Languedoc. In addition to spicy aromatics, you can smell the warmed rosemary, sage, and thyme fragrances that fills the Languedoc’s breezes as they sweep across its fields of wild herbs. Light and delicate on the mouth, as if it was wrapped in fine velvet, there is an accompanying ‘”pinching” finish of acidity and then heat. Gloriously rich and luscious, it’s not shy at 14 percent alcohol. This Minervois did what I love about wine most and transported me on a sensory visit to the Mediterranean infused vineyard sites of France’s southwest. At $18, that’s a pretty cheap plane ticket. I will be taking more trips soon as I rush to taste through the rest of Hecht & Bannier’s crus.