Weekend Wine

You owe it to yourself to give this wine a try.

Perhaps the term Vin de Pays d’Oc reads like gibberish to you. It is worth at least learning to recognize the words because the operational definition of the term is good French wine at a quite reasonable price.

These wines come from the southwest part of France and their more expensive brethren would be labeled Languedoc. The classification of Vin de Pays d’Oc was an intentional loosening of the regulations. Most French wines are named for their home, not the grape. In the U.S., we are used to buying a bottle of Pinot Noir, whereas in France, that would likely be called Burgundy (or Bourgogne in French). The regulators over Vin de Pays d’Oc decided that it would be okay to name the wine for the grape, a tip of the hat to the winemakers desirous of getting a toehold in North America.

Franck and Georges Duboeuf (Photo Courtesy of the Winery)

Photo Courtesy of the Winery

Georges Duboeuf is one of the top winemakers in Beaujolais. The company has grown significantly over the last few decades by producing delightful wines priced fairly, and by using an easily recognizable flower theme to its labels. Duboeuf’s wines from the Vin de Pays d’Oc are all varietally named, so if you're in the mood for a Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Chardonnay, just look for the bottle named for that grape (see picture below). The target of this review is their Pinot Noir.

The U.S. produces very good Pinot Noir in Oregon and some of the cooler parts of California. Unfortunately, most are quite expensive. The other major player for Pinot Noir is Bourgogne, but some of those wines can cost more than your car. Imagine my delight when I popped open the screw-top on this bottle and found wine that is seriously delicious. Its aromas are classic Pinot Noir with cherry and red berry mixed with a dense, plummy mouthfeel. This is not a wine to set on its side and wait for a few decades before you open. Instead, this is simple wine that perfectly denotes the freshest characteristics of the grape.

If you have any love for Pinot Noir, you owe it to yourself to give this wine a try. It's a bargain at the price ($11.99 suggested, sometimes lower), and still would be even at twice that price. The other wines in the line – Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay – are also good performers, but it’s so hard to find an inexpensive, high-quality Pinot Noir that this wine demands the attention of anyone who likes the grape. Cool it off just slightly, say 60-65 degrees, and enjoy it with your favorite salmon recipe or an artisanal pork sausage from your favorite barbecue.

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Vin de Pays d’Oc, Languedoc, Bourgogne, Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Georges Duboeuf, Beaujolais, Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay


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