Apologies for the dearth of posts recently. Unfortunately moving to a new city got in the way of drinking wine, or at least in the way of writing about it. To get the ball rolling as we come towards summer here is a sun scorched wine from the Pays d’Oc in the South of France. The majority of the wines we write about on this blog are classified as Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), which comprise the top tier of French wines and are governed by stringent rules. Below this are the Vin de pays, or country wines, and below that again are the table wines.
Are they worth buying?
Just because a wine is not marked with AOC it does not necessarily mean it is of low quality. Some Vin de pays wines may be of high quality but lie just outside the appellation boundaries, some will be grown outside of traditional wine making regions, and some will be grown within the geographical borders of an appellation but in some way fall foul of the strict AOC rules. I must admit I do not know which camp this wine falls into (Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly not the typical grape of the region) but I do know it was a most enjoyable bottle.
Terre De Sol, Pays d’Oc, France, 2014
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Médaille d’Or Paris 2015
£9.99 from Averys of Bristol
This was inky black with a garnet hue and purple rim. The nose was herbal, rich, and was dominated by sweet aromatics of blackcurrant as typical sun drenched Cabernet Sauvignon. On the palate we find more blackcurrant, and an underlying green bramble note suggesting the grapes could have been a touch riper. There is moderate tannin with a calcareous (chalky) mouthfeel. The finish is smokey with a long drying mineral finish. This wine was slightly hard around the edges on the first day, but very acceptable as a Vin de pays. I had this open over a couple of evenings and it softened and opened slightly by day two. I felt this wine was typical of wine from the pays d’Oc and a had enough going on to leave me satisfied.
Conclusion: Don’t rule out vin de pays: this example punches above it’s weight and is deserving of that gold medal award.