With 740,300 acres of vineyards — the region is three times the size of Bordeaux and the world’s largest vineyard area.
There are 56 authorised grape varieties. Approximately 60 % of the production is red with the additional 40% split between white and rosé.
IGP is a Protected Geographic Indication that consists in producing grapes on a delimited appellation area, according to precise specifications and with total traceability and control over the geography and quality of the product.
In 2013, the Tour will have three stages in the area:
Thursday, July 4th - Stage 6: 176km from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier
Friday, July 5th - Stage 7: 205km from Montpellier to Albi
Saturday, July 6th - Stage 8: 194km from Castres to Ax 3 Domaines
What will I be drinking for those stages? I admit that I do not yet know. But I recently had the chance to try a few samples, provided by Inter Oc, the Pays d’Oc IGP wine trade association making a push in the US market. I invited two friends over to taste with me, as it is fun to see how we both agree and disagree on the wines. In general we thought the wines provided good value with "good for the price" appearing more than once in tasting notes.
The first empty bottle of the night and the wine that everyone chose as their favorite was the Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc, 2010 (SRP $25). The press release tells me that South African Anthony Record and Englishman Tim Ford joined forces with French winemaker Vincent Chansault to form Domaine Gayda in 2003. After building a brand new state-of-the-art winery, Gayda produced its first vintage in 2004. Inky dark in color, it is lively and fresh.
We also tasted:
Domaine de l'Engarran La Lionne, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Grenache, 2010 (SRP $18-24) The press info stated that this family vineyard owned by the Grill / Bertrand family since 1923, has been run by three women for three generations. Green bell pepper and slightly jammy.
Laurent Miquel, Nord sud, Viognier, 2011 (SRP $12.49) Laurent produces his signature aromatic Viognier from selected blocks of mature, naturally low yielding vines at his family estate. All of us felt that this was a very good wine for the price with much more balance than one often finds in less expensive viogniers.
Anne de Joyeuse, Gargantuavis, Pinot Noir, 2010 (SRP $16.5) The press info on this one told us that Anne de Joyeuse is a high quality cooperative winery in Limoux, which was founded in 1929 and which currently boasts 650 members. Anne de Joyeuse is one of only ten wine cooperatives in France to carry the highest level of quality accreditation. We all loved the label in this one and thought that the wine was lighter than expected.