D’Autrefois 2016 Pinot Noir

9 Jan

A Pinot Noir from the South of France?  Yes, and it is excellent.

Oenophiles unnamedknow that the birthplace of Pinot Noir is the Burgundy region of France.  All red Burgundies are Pinot Noirs, and they can command some of the highest prices in the wine world.  But the Southern France region of Languedoc-Roussillon is better known for bolder, fruit-forward reds and world-class rosés.

D’Autrefois Pinot Noir is an IGP wine (Indication Géographique Protégée), which means that it was grown and produced with fewer requirements and restrictions than wines from an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée).  The label on the D’Autrefois bottle says Pays D’Oc.  What does this mean? Well, France has six regions of IGP wines, each covering large areas of the country. The largest of these in terms of wine production is Vin de Pays d’Oc.  This designation covers IGP wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in Mediterranean France.

One might expect a Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir to have a riper, more fruit-centric profile than than a Burgundian Pinot.  This is typically true because the Pays d’Oc region has a Mediterranean climate which is warmer with less rainfall than the Burgundian continental climate.  Wines from these warm-climate vineyards (also seen in California and the rest of the New World) tend to have higher alcohol levels, a more opaque color and riper fruit on the palate than a wine from Burgundy made from the same grape variety.

The D’Autrefois Pinot defies these expectations.  Clear, pale ruby in color with a light mouthfeel, classic notes of cherry and red berries and thanks to oak-aging, undertones of vanilla and spice.  Lower alcohol (12.5%) and higher acidity than California Pinots (think Meiomi) with a nice long fruit & spice finish.

Total Wine & More, less than $15.  9/10


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