Vandaag het tweede deel van de (Engelstalige) serie ‘Pays d’Oc as tasted by Elizabeth Gabay MW’. Maak 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 Syrah 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.

igp_pays doc sarah Hargreaves

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..

Syrah 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 Syrah.

Syrah Pixabay


Syrah is a mirror of not just the region, but also the creativity of the winemaker crafting styles ranging from a more restrained northern Rhône Syrah to the more obvious New World Shiraz fruit. This dual personality, with both characters equally well known, illustrates the charm and potential of Syrah to offer varied profiles and Pays d’Oc IGP gives rein to unbridled expression of styles.

The range of wines not only covers the range of styles, but also all budgets. Look out for rich black chocolate to savoury cocoa nibs; the sourness of red fruit and wild brambles to ripe black cassis; notes of garrigue and savoury game; sour salinity, inky minerality and spice; saline sour, black and inky pepper, intensity of ripe fruit to powerful weight and structure; easy supple tannins to firm, full-bodied tannins.

Six examples to highlight the diversity of this grape variety under Pays d’Oc IGP are:

Shiraz 2019, Les Domaines Barsalou

“Finally – a French wine that doesn’t start with château:”  – has classic perfumed aromas, followed by rich black chocolate, meaty body and fine smooth tannins. The fun label and easy screwcap make this wine even more approachable.

Syrah finally

Secrets de Lunès 2019, Vignobles Jeanjean

– blue fruit and inky aromas with a hint of cloves. Slightly chalky, textured tannins, restrained blue black mineral fruit with a fine northern Rhone style freshness. Hints of violets, blueberries, wild berry sourness and a touch of blood orange finishing with rich chocolate, cocoa nibs and pepper.


Syrah 2019, Les Collines du Bourdic

– from a cooperative with a sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking, the grapes for this wine come from cooler clay and limestone soils. Inky blueberry fruit with incense and garrigue savoury notes. Soft supple dry tannins and fresh acidity make this a classic fresh Syrah. Not rich and complex but very easy drinking and very typical.

Collines du Bourdic_Syrah_ss mill

Eve 2019, Maison Ventenac

– from the slightly cooler north west of the region, this Syrah has clear nods to northern Rhone-style wines with spice and game aromas. On the palate the game and inky mineral notes continue with perfumed blue floral notes, blue-black berries and stone fruit and bitter black chocolate and rounded out with ripe creamy acidity.

syrah eve 2019

Cuvée Balthazar 2019, Pierrick Harang Wine

– although ready to drink, and with an easy opening screwcap, this wine is still young with potential to grow. Inky gamey aromas developing on the palate with saline and mineral notes. Ripe black fruit with firm, dry and chewy structured powdery tannins. Lovely structure.

Syrah Cuvée Balthazar NM_PHW

Jeanne & Andre 2018, Domaine de Sauzet

– no sulphur, fermented in cement. Very classic incense and white pepper aromas. Lots of pepper, wild bramble fruit with that tell-tale sour garrigue finish. Firm dry tannins give a supporting structure without dominating and long fresh acidity. Lovely classy Syrah.

Jeanneetandre Syrah


Source: agence presse

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