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 . 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 .
All commercialised wine is subject to approval by a tasting panel , 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 . The rejection rate by the Oc panels ranges between 9-20% , 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.
- 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.
- The varietal giant. Decanter, Andrew Jefford, 02/01/17. [online] accessed 05/12/19.
- An argument against tasting panels. Jamie Goode, 22/06/19. [online] accessed 05/12/19.