Country Wines On The Rise
Vin de Pays d’Oc is a classification of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France’s western Mediterranean Coast. With more than 700,000 acres of vineyard land, it is thought to be the largest wine-producing area in the world. For many years this region produced mostly ordinary, unremarkable wines. However in the 1980s a dramatic improvement in quality became the norm and wine quality has continued to evolve since then.
There are two distinct categories of wine produced in this area. AOC wines are labeled according to appellation (place they are produced) and are generally made from a blend of three or four grape varieties, most often including, if the wine is red, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and/or Carignan. By comparison, Vins de Pays d’Oc are far less traditional, and the rules for making them are more flexible. These wines are single varietals and are labeled according to grape, not place. The varietals used in Vin de Pays d’Oc are often different than the AOC wines. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir are used in addition to the more traditional Languedoc varietals.
The Pays d’Oc territory winds along the Mediterranean Sea, weaving itself along 4 departments in the Languedoc- Roussillon: Pyrenees-Orientales, Aude, Herault and the Gard. The Pays d’Oc boasts 200km of beaches and vast vineyards bathed by the sun. The climate and terrain are similar to Provence and the southern Rhone, with lots of sun, steep slopes, ocean breezes and diverse soils.
Modern winemaking techniques, combined with a passion and commitment to create high quality wines has made these some of the best value wines available.
I was inspired to write on this topic after having been introduced to some Vin de Pays d’Oc wines recently. I presented two of them at our French Value Wine Tasting, and people liked them so much, I decided to use them as our May Wines of the Month.
May Wine Quote
Wine is bottled poetry
—Robert Louis Stevenson
May Wines of the Month
The White Wine of the Month – De Laumont, 2015, Sauvignon Blanc.
Smooth and tart with citrus and gooseberry flavors.
The Red Wine of the Month – De Laumont, 2015, Merlot.
It is medium bodied, with cassis and raspberry fruit and a little spice on the finish.
We will have our Ravishing Rose tasting on Friday, May 5th from 6 to 8. I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there! LEARN MORE
Sommelier, Maynards Market and Kitchen