Estate Wines Overtaking Mass Produced Blends

The key to buying wine is knowing what to look for
Estate Wines Overtaking Mass Produced Blends

Start exploring with these inexpensive bottles.

All too often, budding wine aficionados settle for safe mass produced blends due to limited budgets. Little do they know that a wide variety of AOC designated wines are easily within reach. The key is knowing what to look for. Many estate wines from the Pays d'Oc region in the South of France are stellar examples. “As winemakers, our main goal for Pays d’Oc IGP wines is to deliver high-quality wines within a $8-$15 price range,” says Jacques Gravegeal, President of Inter Oc, the Pays d’Oc IGP Wines Interprofessional Organization.

This is welcome news indeed especially since distinct flavors that eloquently connect terrior to our taste buds are mercilessly obliterated in mainstream blends. This happens under the greater good of selling a higher volume of wine. This may benefit the megawineries' profits margins but any chance of high value tastings go out the window with multicontinent grape sourcing and blending designed in a lab to yield flavor profiles proven to be most popular with the largest number of wine consumers.

Single source locally produced wines like those from the Pays D’Oc have an IGP label designation guaranteeing that all the grapes used in a vintage are grown in a specific region. Local vintners have also increasingly made their wines more accessible with labeling that's anything but cryptic. You get plain language descriptions and pairing suggestions often accompanied by QR Codes for more info..

Start Exploring with These 3 Bottles Each Well Under $15

Laroche Cabernet Sauvignon de la Chevaliere 2012 - Mas La Chevaliere (farmhouse of the Knight's lady) is exactly where this wine is produced at Laroche winery. This solid 2012 Cabernet benefited from a cool spring followed by an August heat wave that unexpectedly hastened the ripening process. Fortunately, storms soon moderated temps with cooler nights delivering straightforward clean black currant along with subtle herbal tones on the nose. When sipping you get a slight sweetness detectable through steely yet velvety stone fruit ultimately finishing long and elegant.

Chateau De Jau Jaja Syrah - From the Daure family's Chateau de Jau in the Côtes du Roussillon, hillside vineyards were painstakingly revitalized by ripping up old neglected vines and crushing overturned stone. Wine flavor profiles were noticeably enlivened in their signature Jaja, full-flavored everyday wines that are often the house selection in local bistros and restaurants. Jaja is vinified with an early bottling preserving bright fresh fruit flavors. You get chunky, peppery red with smoky kirsch/blackcurrent and herbs de Provence scents. A delicate floral nose, well-balanced tannins and hints of raspberry on the palate. Strong and definitive when chilled as advised. A deep dark melange of dense pepperiness with plumb and brambleberry unfold on the palate revealing a velvety mouthfeel.

Gilles Louvet Mon Pre Carre Marselan 2011 - Estate grown pesticide free since 1993, Giles Louvet specializes in private domain Marselan, grapes first bred in 1961 that are a Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache cross breed. Defined by its dark color and equally dark nose of black currant and cherry, this wine has a smooth and charmingly rustic palate abundant with black fruits laced with spicy notes.

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