Tag Archives: Languedoc

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


An Underrated Wine Region and A Great Value Red

20 May

Recently, the popular social media wine site VinePair reported on their survey of professional sommeliers regarding which wine regions they believe are the most underrated.  Everyone has heard of wine regions such as Napa, Bordeaux and Brunello, which are famous for the high quality, and price, of their wines.   The lesser-known and underrated regions highlighted by the pro’s all have many producers who offer high quality wines at relatively low prices.  One of my favorite appellations in this list of great-value producers is Languedoc (LONG-eh-Dauck).

A fascinating and historic area famous for beautiful French-Roman villages and epic scenic drives, the Languedoc-Roussillon borders the Mediterranean Sea to the east and the Pyrenees Mountains to the south. The region benefits from a very vine-friendly Mediterranean Climate and has a proliferation of old-vines and many wineries that focus on organic and sustainable practices.

Languedoc grows quality varietals from the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Viognier) as well as Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc) and produces interesting and delicious blends, one of which I report on here.

Mas Belles Eaux, Languedoc 2009

Syrah 60%, Grenache 30%, Mourvedre 10%

This wine is an intense, juicy red blend with a full mouthfeel of ripe red plum and raspberry.  The fruit is smoothly layered and balanced with soft tannins and there is plenty of fresh berry acidity.  The long finish is rich and warm with a hint of spice.  Delicious on its own and stands up well to spicy, smoky barbecue.  As with many reds from Languedoc-Roussillon, this wine at around $20 per bottle is a great value.  92/100