This year, the Pays d’Oc IGP Collection featured a selection of nineteen diverse quality wines, three of them organic.
I have always been a great advocate of organic living and sustainability. It is not only a sound lifestyle choice for our health, but also for that of the planet. While I do make exceptions, whether that be for a jar of rillettes I purchased in France or an exquisite bottle of wine from a favorite wine house (and not counting dinners out; with the number of events I attend as a food and wine writer, I can’t be too picky either), a good percentage of what I eat is both organic and locally grown.
After talking to Caro Feely of Château Feely in Saussignac, the desire to drink ‘clean’ wine, produced without chemical fertilizers and systemic herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, began to plant even firmer roots in my life. I interviewed Caro for a wine/lifestyle feature due to appear in the November issue of Living France, and what she told me was a real eye-opener. I am not here to brainwash you or discredit everything non-organic (as I said, I make enough exceptions). I leave the research and decision, a very personal one, up to you.
Nevertheless, my preference for organic wines has definitely increased, so when I was offered to try three wines from the Pays d’Oc IGP Collection 2018, the choice was easy. I went for the three organic wines that made it to the list:
- Domaine de la Métairie d’Alon, Pinot Noir, 2016
- Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc, 2016
- Domaine Gayda, Chemin de Moscou, Blend, 2015
PAYS D’OC IGP COLLECTION 2018 & THREE ORGANIC CHARMERS
Before telling you about the three tested wine, a little more about the annual Pays d’Oc IGP Collection, which has been around since 2007. Based on a blind tasting, a collection is chosen by an international Grand Jury, ultimately representing the top segment of Pays d’Oc IGP wines. Among the fourteen jury members this year were Dutch wine journalist Esmee Langereis and gastronomy professor Peter Klosse.
These nineteen chosen wines are exemplary of the treasures that Pays d’Oc has to offer and attest to the modernity and creativity of Pays d’Oc IGP.
In terms of volume, Pays d’Oc IGP is France’s main wine region, largest wine exporter and leading rosé producer. It counts fifty-eight grape varietals and 120,000 ha. of vineyards spread out between sea and mountains and accounting for half of the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
And now on to the wines…
Domaine de la Métairie d’Alon, Pinot Noir, 2016
The first wine we opened was the Domaine de la Métairie d’Alon, Pinot Noir, 2016. The wine has an elegant palate with a hint of pepper, a dash of licorice and a pleasant acidity. The nose is rich with ripe forest fruits, warm spices and a touch of tobacco. An expressive wine with an ample finish. It paired beautifully with a Burgundian-style guinea fowl (a good glug of this wine, rosemary, lardons, shallots, chestnut mushrooms and a little cream).
In the Netherlands available at Chabrol Wines for €14.99
Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc, 2016
I am not one to be seduced by wine labels, but with its autumnal scene of leaves blowing off the trees, this one sure charmed me! The Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc, 2016 is a hearty wine that feels like wearing a thick, wooly sweater on a cold winter’s eve! An explosion of juicy blackberries, cherries, cassis and slightly herbal notes. Velvety tannins and a persistent, smooth finish. Perfect in front of the fireplace with a charcuterie platter and amazing with a lentil stew topped with Toulouse sausages.
In the Netherlands available at Pasteuning for €16.95
Domaine Gayda, Chemin de Moscou, Blend, 2015
The final wine we tried, and undoubtedly our favorite! Made from a blend of 70% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 5% Cinsault, this robust wine does not skimp on irresistibly jammy black fruits and warm, earthy spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a hint of minerality, an endless finish and plenty of finesse. For us, spot-on with a beef tenderloin in an anchovy-garlic cream sauce.
In the Netherlands available at Pasteuning for €23.95