In the 1990s, Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier met while studying for an enology degree in Dijon, France. Each pursued different avenues in the wine trade until 2002, when they established Hecht & Bannier negociant wine business.
Until recently, the negociant concept was foreign to the Languedoc region. This wine area has been dominated by large cooperatives making bottom-shelf wine at best, and poorly-made wine regularly. Into this environment Hecht & Bannier brought the Burgundy negociant model: buying freshly fermented wine from various sources, aging, blending and bottling it under their own label, and bringing it to the market.
Hecht & Bannier wines come from three sources. The men taste at cooperatives to find the best lots to purchase before those barrels are blended into the generic cooperative wines; they visit individual growers to purchase quality wines; and top producers sell them wine because they want to help Hecht & Bannier enhance the reputation of the Languedoc.
I met Hecht two years ago in the Languedoc and again a few months ago in Hoboken’s acclaimed Amanda’s restaurant. We tasted the newest vintages and two left a lasting impression.
The 2010 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rose’ is made of equal parts syrah, grenache and cinsault, all important red grapes of the Languedoc. They produced a rose’ with a bright sunset red shade and delightful floral and strawberry aromas. The 2010 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rose’ has more body than normally found in Languedoc rose’, and rich raspberry and cherry fruit flavors. The grenache and cinsualt provide a refreshing acidity, making the 2010 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rose’ a wonderful aperitif or a delightful partner with Amanda’s roasted beet salad.
The certified organic 2007 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc is a perfect red wine for grilled meats. A blend of 80 percent syrah and 10 percent each grenache and carignan, the wine is fermented and aged in Languedoc’s classic cement tanks. This technique preserves the natural aromas and flavors of the grapes, and fortunate we are for that, because this wine explodes with pungent black pepper and blackberry aromas, and spicy, lip-smacking blackberry, pomegranate flavors. The 2010 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc is pure pleasure.
I enjoyed it with Amanda’s creamy polenta and wild mushroom appetizer, and you’ll be pleased with a glass of the 2007 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc beside grilled chicken legs, salmon, or a summer favorite bluefish. And the prices of both wines offer their own pleasure.
The 2007 Hecht and Bannier Languedoc and the 2010 Languedoc Rose’ retail for approximately $13 and $10, respectively.