Met de (Engelstalige) serie ‘Pays d’Oc as tasted by Elizabeth Gabay MW’ maak je kennis met de onderscheidende karaktereigenschappen van de klassieke en minder gebruikelijke druivenrassen die je vindt binnen de Pays d’Oc IGP. De in Frankrijk woonachtige Master of Wine Elizabeth Gabay proefde de wijnen. Vandaag staat Grenache Noir in de schijnwerpers.
Like all classic wine regions, Pays d’Oc’s character stems from a combination of felicitous climate and soils, and grape varieties attuned to both. But the IGP, which was officially established in 1987, takes all of these ingredients and allows winegrowers to get their creative juices flowing by factoring an astounding 58 permitted grape varieties into the equation. The result is a treasure trove of distinctive, versatile and vibrant wines that can appeal to a vast consumer audience for their flavour, variety and price tags.
A potent combination of eclectic varietals, relevant weather and soils and freedom of expression
Pays d’Oc IGP, the region
The Pays d’Oc IGP region/vineyard spans an extensive area running from the Pyrenees along the Spanish border to the Camargue. It runs parallel with a 200-kilometre stretch of the Mediterranean coastline yet also extends inland over rolling hills and mountain foothills. This 120,000-hectare swathe of vineyards fosters a variety of weather patterns and soil types – from sandy coastal to limestone, schist, clay and gravel further inland – that unleashes huge potential for a selection of classic, native varieties.
Pays d’Oc IGP, the grape varieties
But when you combine them with an eclectic choice of 58 permitted grapes, the possibilities are endless. Some of the varieties such as Riesling or Gewurtztraminer may seem counter-intuitive, whilst others – like Tempranillo and Nielluccio – are a long way from home. All of them, though, have been given the chance to express themselves freely by the region’s creative winegrowers, under the watchful eye and stringent palates of the custodians of the Pays d’Oc IGP designation. The traditional southern varieties that are Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Viognier and Rolle (aka Vermentino), which double up as appellation mainstays, feature both as stand-alone varieties and in red, white and rosé blends, again ramping up the region’s diversity.
California and its varietally-themed proposition may have been the inspiration for Pays d’Oc IGP, but there is no denying that the region has earned its stripes, and spawned a whole raft of stars..
Grenache Noir as tasted by Elizabeth Gabay MW
We are rolling out a series of articles detailing the distinctive character traits found in Pays d’Oc IGP’s classic, and more offbeat varieties. One hundred wines were tasted and the following articles are a selection demonstrating the diversity found across the region, and the ability of each grape variety to express itself differently depending on its vineyard site – tasting notes credited to Elizabeth Gabay MW. Today it’s about Grenache Noir.
The workhorse variety of the south, arrived from Spain and Sardinia in the 19th century it stars on its own, as Garnacha in north east Spain, as Cannonau di Sardegna and Alicante in Tuscany. It also has a rare starring role as a single variety red under Pays d’Oc IGP, although more often found in blends in almost every appellation across southern France, and is a major star of Pays d’Oc IGP rosé (but that will be coming later).
Grenache Noir is now the most widely grown grape variety in the world after Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon. In Languedoc-Roussillon, it owes its reputation to the dessert wines of Roussillon, but it is also used in appellation blends for Collioure, Rivesaltes, Tavel and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. With its fairly high alcohol and low tannin content, in Pays d’Oc it shows a profusion of black fruits such as prunes and figs, underscored by notes of cocoa, coffee and spices. When blended, it adds roundness to the wines.
Its naturally high sugar levels allow for the grapes to have abundant fruit and its ability to thrive in hot dry conditions means the fruit retains its acidity and freshness. These qualities allow for flexibility and potential producing wines ranging from fresh and fruity with ripe raspberry jam and fresh, vibrant bramble fruit to more complex wines with intense blackberry fruit, smooth, strong tannins and the ability to age well in wood.
Two examples to highlight the diversity of this grape variety under Pays d’Oc IGP are:
Marius Grenache 2019, Chapoutier
Early harvest to keep the fresh crunchy fruit and long vibrant acidity balances the intense raspberry fruit jam, floral notes and fresh bramble fruit.
Les Jamelles, Selection parcellaire 2017, Badet Clement
The grapes come from four vineyards, from cooler high altitudes to warmer coastal plains, to give extra complexity. A small proportion is whole bunch press and macerated for several months for greater intensity and the wine is partly aged in oak for 7-9 months before final blending. Complex inky ripe fruit, smooth and silky tannins and abundant ‘Summer Pudding’ black fruit and long acidity.
Source: agence presse inthemoodpress.com
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