Mild winters, hot summers, rolling hills and Mediterranean plains and a most diverse range of soil types and grapes, the Languedoc has a wine for every palate. Here, it is less about grand chateaux and one-man shows… the Languedoc is a core of cooperatives. It is a region of distinction—their reds portraying a raw, earthy, sometimes chewy bold character; their whites often echoing a past, a depth of personality so austere and elegant, it recalls a former era, so antique in its execution of minerality, dried flora, dust, and earth.
The Languedoc, no joke, produces more wine than any other region in the world. Many of these bottles wear the label: Vin de Pays d’Oc, referring to the fact that it is a ‘country wine.’ What this signifies to the consumer is that this is above a simple table wine but not as high as one that carries an AOC classification (Appellation d’Origine Controlee). This does not mean it is of less quality. What it means is that these are uncompromising vintners who want the versatility of using unauthorized grapes with, perhaps, unauthorized practices for their style of wine. However, even Vin de Pays wines must play by a few rules, some include alcohol minimums, sulfur dioxide limits, yield restrictions and acidity control, ensuring that the final product is still of higher quality than the average bumpkin blend.
There are many fascinating producers to discover from this region. I have hardly made a dent in my own observations! However, some that I have loved so far include a Chardonnay from Domaine Mouscaillo, the Minervois wines of Chateau d’Oupia, the cheery little Picpouls from Cave de Pomerols and Domaine Felines Jourdan, the hearty reds of the more famous Domaine de Baron’arques, the quirky thought-provoking everyday wines of Domaine de la Dourbie, the variety of affordable and people appeasing wines of Mas de Daumas Gassac, and the old vine Mourveds of Chateau La Roque. Finally, the gorgeous, mind-tickling muscats of Maury—a tiny sub-appellation within the Languedoc that harbours some of the most sought-after stickies of Domaine de la Coume du Roy.
If you haven’t already, get acquainted with the Languedoc. In hard, economic times, you can’t afford not to. A perfect little place for a picky, yet penny-pinching, palate.