Chardonnay Pays d’Oc 2017

Les Vignobles Foncalieu (a union of co-operatives), M. Torecilla, Chardonnay, Extrait de Romarion, IGP Pays d’Oc, Puicheric, Aude, Occitanie, France, 2017

On IGP Pays d’Oc
The appellation encompasses a huge area, ~240k ha, including the departments of Aude, Gard, Herault and Pyrenees-Orientales, and some communes in the Lozere (map).

The regulations are much looser than for AOP [1]. Approved varieties, are 23 for red wine, 28 for rose and 31 for white, amounting to 58 unique varieties [INAO] (2018). Wines can be varietal or blends, though about 90% of offerings are varietal [2].

All commercialised wine is subject to approval by a tasting panel [2], as with all IGPs. This is a huge undertaking, given the thousands of wines produced annually here – one assumes faults and structural balance are the main criteria, unlike AOP panels, which consider more esoteric traits, eg typicity – which some question [3]. The rejection rate by the Oc panels ranges between 9-20% [2], a huge volume of wine, which one supposes (the non-faulty wine) finds its way into eg Vin de France, pan-European or multi-vintage blends.

The maximum yield is 90hl/ha, and varietal wines must contain >=85% of the named variety. Labeling requirements are for all grape varieties to be shown, together with the year of harvest.

One should also note the new, from 19/05/17, coterminous IGP Terres du Midi, with 108 approved varieties, and a larger maximum yield of 120hl/ha. All commercialised wine remains subject to a tasting panel. Labels cannot mention grape variety(ies). This IGP has been proposed as the basement level of a Languedoc quality pyramid.

This wine: lot No. L18065A01 (below capsule), varietal chardonnay, vinified in stainless steel, aged on its fine lees in tank, with French oak staves; coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, Les Caveaux d’Ensérune, Capestang, €9.80 (11/19)

Consumer tasting note: typical middling chardonnay with no defining characteristics, however a pleasant drink with plenty of acidity, on an apple edged with richer white stone fruit profile, with a shade of oakiness, and showing a touch of nutty development. Finishes medium. Drink now – RTD, consume within a year or two – Wait. No need to decant.

WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, pale intensity gold, showing tears [no deposit].

Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of stewed dessert apple with a waxy edge, a hint of green herbs, a spicy nuance, a distant hint of oak, a hint of fennel, richer white stone fruit, again, a distant hint, of nuttiness.

Palate: dry, high acidity, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium intensity, a marked grip and a smooth texture, with flavours of a dessert apple, stewed apple, hint of sweet oak, vanilla. A medium length, with a fresh palate finish of stewed apple with a nutty edge, and a touch of vanilla on the end.

Quality: good, well balanced decidedly fresh acidity with alcohol, harmonious; a commonplace intensity, with lesser concentration which seems to fade; showing a developing simple, towards moderate complexity, with evidence of time in wood (grip, oak, spice), and bottle (nuts, wax), following into a medium length.

Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – a sound structure with a strong acid backbone, with early signs of tertiary development, but without intensity, concentration and length to suggest benefit from further cellaring. However, it will keep for 1-2 years.


  1. Why ‘liberty of style’ is so key to the future of Pays d’Oc wines. The Buyer, 23/08/19. [online] accessed 05/12/19.
  2. The varietal giant. Decanter, Andrew Jefford, 02/01/17. [online] accessed 05/12/19.
  3. An argument against tasting panels. Jamie Goode, 22/06/19. [online] accessed 05/12/19.

Updated 05/12/19

About citbp

I am interested in everything about wine, from site selection to tasting.
This entry was posted in 10to20 - still white, chardonnay, france languedoc (now occitanie). Bookmark the permalink.

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