Monday, September 8, 2014

Pays d’Oc Wines Deliver French Flavor and Value

Pays d'Oc RoseLocated in France’s southern Languedoc Rousillon region, Pays d’OC winemakers produce a wide range of wines with character and value. Pays d’Oc is France’s largest contributor to the “country wine” category.

Vin de pays is the second quality tier in France below the Appellation d’Origine Contrȏlée and above table wine. The wines are geographically controlled, but the regulations are less strict than with AOC wines. The vin de pays term is being phased out in favor of Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP).

Some would say that vin de pays can be produced with exceptional creative freedom. They certainly deliver great value for enjoyable French wine.

At a recent get-together, we popped open the 2013 Père et Fils Cinsault-Syrah rosé. We were winding down at the house of Sax Man and Wine Chick, two TWAV tasting team members.

Rosé is on the rise in Pays d’Oc, accounting now for about 20% of all production. We can see why. Rosé is one of the hottest wine trends in the U.S. This wine was especially delicious.

If I only drank in the Père et Fils with my eyes, it would have been superlative. The color is a striking pink-orange. On the nose there is a waft of apricot.

On the palate the wine is bright with a light to medium body, similar to Riesling. We’ve never had a Cinsault-Syrah rosé before and the grape combination seems ideal. The wine, which is 70% Cinsault and 30% Syrah, is harvested at night high in the Languedoc hills. It has light filtration and matures on lees in stainless steel tanks.

Pays d'Oc MuscatA few days later, Green Dragon and I checked out a white Pays d’Oc wine, the Fortant de France 2012 Coast Select Muscat. Like the rosé, it retails for $10.99.

This wine is 100% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. This “white Muscat with little berries” is considered to be the best of the Muscat grape family.

The nose is expansive, with aromas of rose and honeysuckle. In the mouth this wine has a round and tropical flavor. The finish includes a pop of sweetness.

A rich wine, it seems ideal for a lazy summer day. Perhaps this reflects its origin in the sun-dappled Mediterranean coast.

There is a misconception that French wines are difficult to decipher and very expensive. Wines from Pay’s d’Oc allow you to enjoy the French lifestyle with gusto without worries of a busted budget.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as a marketing sample.

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