Friday, December 28, 2012

Serious value from Pays d'OC

By Eric Guido

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the value wines that are coming out of southern France. Up until recently, I had very little exposure to these wines, with a few entrants from the Languedoc Roussillon. However, I was recently invited to a tasting that featured the wines of Pay d’OC, and I immediately jumped on the invitation, knowing that I needed an education on this region and with hopes of discovering what all of the buzz was about.

In the end, I’m certainly glad I did, because the quality across the board was excellent, especially when you take the price of these wines into account. The great thing about Pays d’OC is that producers are given freedom to experiment with 56 varietals across a region that spans over 100 miles of French coastline with just about every form of terroir you can imagine, from sandy Mediterranean to vineyards that would fool you into thinking you were in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There are no strict blending or aging rules, and no one is expected to model their wines after some trophy bottle that costs ungodly amounts of money.

The only thing you have to fear is the amount of wines to choose from. I will say that, although I would enjoy any of the wines listed below, I would be weary of buying anything without tasting it first or reading the review from someone I trust, simply because I wouldn’t know what to expect. In the end, these are all affordable, highly enjoyable wines that would make great everyday drinkers and, in some cases, could even be enjoyed as a trophy all it’ own. I picked my four favorites that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

On to the wines:

2011 Foncalieu Les Fontanelles Sauvignon Blanc - Lemon and stone were the first things that came to mind as I took my first sniff of the Les Fontanelles, followed by a hint of green stems and raw pastry dough. The bouquet was pleasant and very pretty. On the palate, it showed a lean, dry body with juicy acid zing that ushered in flavors of sweet citrus. The finish was dry and long with just the right amount of tart citrus. This is a great value Sauvignon Blanc. (89 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2011 Delatour Cuvee Premier Grenache Rose - The nose on the Delatour Rose was what sold me, as a bouquet of apple, fresh strawberry, rose petals and minerals wafted up from the glass. On the palate, it was clean and pure with white cherry and juicy stone fruits. Inner floral notes defined the dry finish with a hint of cherry. (90 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2010 Jeff Carrel Puydeval (Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot) - The Puydeval kept me coming back to the glass with a bouquet of spicy vanilla, ripe red berries, tobacco, coffee notes and gravelly earth. On the palate, it was dry but intense with pure black and red fruits and cheek-puckering tannins. The spicy red berry finish was slightly short but honestly, I think this wine just needs another year or two before it really blooms. (91 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2010 Domaine Gayda Figure Libre "Freestyle" (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon) - The nose was wild on the Gayda Freestyle, with spicy mixed berry fruits, chalky minerals, graphite, pepper and something notably alpine. On the palate, it had a great mouth-feel with velvety dark fruits and pepper notes. The finish was juicy with notes of tobacco and a hint of tannin. (91 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!


  1. If you have a bit of spare time, rent a car, drive around, go trout fishing...get some culture, meet really nice people from all parts of the world, visit Montpellier, enjoy the light. You will not regret!

  2. Great blog post! I don’t understand how long it will require me to obtain through all of them!
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