Vandaag het vierde deel uit 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 Viognier 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..

Viognier 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 Viognier.

Viognier Domaines Paul Mas

Viognier Domaines Paul Mas (Photo: Be Lemon)


Viognier is the 3rd most produced white grape variety in Pays d’Oc IGP, but this southern French variety almost disappeared before its revival after the Second World War in the northern Rhone where it can be quite closed and tight when young, opening out with time to reveal rich floral wines. The variety has successfully spread west, and today the range of quality and styles found in Pays d’Oc IGP, from fresh and fruity to more complex gastronomic styles, illustrate both the quality and the liberty of expression which typifies the label.

Cooler, more northerly Rhone styles can be found combined with the warmth of southern fruit. Fresh young examples have fresh leafy, violets and blue floral notes. Warmer sites add layers of honey and lemon perfumed fruit. Playing around with cooler sites and longer maturation can add fragrant ginger, honeycomb and scented honeysuckle. Lees ageing, and sometimes partial malolactic fermentation can add rich creamy, nutty notes.

Six examples are:

Domaine de l’Ostal 2019, J-M Cazes

– Viognier chosen from the coolest sites gives vibrant citrus acidity and mineral structure to this fragrant ginger, honeysuckle and honey fruit. Mouth fillingweight and structure with a lively vibrant edge.

L'Ostal Blanc_Viognier 2019

Viognier 2019, Viranel

– Viognier, grown on river-rounded rocks with a low yield is aged on the lees with battonage for 3 months to give extra creaminess. Lime and ginger on the nose, Creamy rich weighty. Good acidity. Balanced lime, mineral floral and honey. Juicy and mouth-watering.

Viognier viranel

Le Versant 2019, Les Vignobles Foncalieu

– harvests Viognier from sunny, north-facing chalky slopes to highlight the vibrant lime and mineral freshness. Temperature controlled fermentation retains the fresh leafy, violets and blue floral notes while some ageing on the lees with battonageround off the wine with honeyed riches.


L’Autodidacte 2019, St Jean d’Aumieres

– has Viognier from a hot sheltered region with well-drained gravel soils on top of clay and limestone. An elegant delicacy with honey and lemon perfumed fruit, long fresh citrus acidity and stony length.

L'Autodidacte Saint Jean

Ournac 2018 Domaine Coudoulet

– Viognier, Lime and honey. Creamy, ginger, perfumed floral beautiful.

Coudoulet Le Viognier de Fontgaline

L’Instant Rare 2019, Domaine de Luc, Famille Fabre

– mixed soils of alluvial gravel, river-rolled stones and limestone hills with fresh north west winds resulting in fresh fruit and lime acidity. Veryfloral perfumed notes of violets, blue mineral restraint and fresh acidity.

De Luc -Viognier



Source: agence presse

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