Southern wines to discover

© T. Joly
Covering a large area, the “Vin de Pays de Méditerranée” PGI allows winemakers to make a wide range of diverse red, rosé and white wines. Many of these wines are not yet well known and are a good bargain.

[ Practical ]

- Cave de Canteperdrix, 84380 Mazan, tel : 0490697031
- Cave coopérative d’Alba le Romaine, 07400 Alba la Romaine, tel : 0475524023
- Cellier Lou Bassaquet, 13530 Trets, tel : 0442292020,
- Château de Saint Martin, 83460 Taradeau, tel : 0494997676
- Château Saint Pierre, 83460 Les Arcs sur Argens, tel : 0494474147
- Château Val Joanis, 84120 Pertuis, tel : 0490792077,
- Domaine de l’Auvières, 84220 Gordes, tel : 0490750187
- Domaine de Cassillac, 84600 Valréas, tel : 0619975187
- Domaine de Fregate, 83270 Saint Cyr sur Mer, tel : 0494325757
- Domaine Isle Saint Pierre, 13104 Mas Thibert, tel : 0490987030,
- Domaine de La Verrière – Chêne Bleu, 84111 Croslet / Crestet, tel : 0490100630,
- Domaine de Régusse, 04860 Pierrevert, tel : 0492723044
- Domaine des Rosiers, 26230 Chantemerle les Grignan, tel : 0475985384
- Domaine Rozel, 26230 Valaurie, tel : 0475985723
- Domaine de Saint Jean, 04100 Manosque, tel : 0492725020
- Famille Sumeire, 13530 Trets, tel : 0442612000,
- Frédéric Coulange, 07700 Saint Marcel d’Ardèche, tel : 0475046469
- Hostellerie des Vins de Rogne, 13480 Rognes, tel : 0442502679
- Laurent Bes, 26130 Clansayes, tel : 0475049108
- Le Clos de la Font du Pape, 26790 Bouchet, tel : 0475048015
- Les Vignerons du Castellas, 13580 La Fare Les Oliviers, tel : 0614135460
- Les Vignerons du Roy René, 13410 Lambesc, tel : 0442570020
- Marrenon, 84240 La Tour d’Aigues, tel : 0490072756,
- Vignerons du Mont Ventoux, 84410 Bedoin, tel : 0490128807
While shopping or more surely while travelling in South-Eastern France, you might have come across wines bearing the “Vin de Pays de Méditerrranée” appellation.
Relatively little known, this PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) created in 1999 is yet the French appellation covering the largest area. It indeed stretches over 13 south-eastern departments whose climate has typical Mediterranean features such as plenty of sunshine and frequent winds.

© T. Joly
 Many different terroirs
Alpes-Maritimes, Var, les Bouches-du-Rhône and Corsica, which is not surprising, but also Vaucluse, Alpes de Hautes Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Drome, Ardèche and even some sectors of Loire, Rhône and Isère !!!!
A vast area that encompasses Camargue, the plain of Crau, the Ardèche gorges, the Corsican scrubland as well as the Alps and lower mountain ranges such as Alpilles, Esterel and Lubéron. Consequently, soils, altitude, rainfall and temperatures vary from place to place giving diverse personalities to the red, rosé and white wines from the “Vin de Pays de Méditerranée” PGI. Depending on the location and the terroir, they are more or less mineral, full bodied, fruity and spicy.
Of course, they are above all produced in regions where there is no other appellation.

© T. Joly
 Rules allowing creativity
However, winemakers living within the boundaries of AOP (or PDO) or other PGI sometimes prefer sell all or a part of their bottles under the “Vin de Pays de Méditerranée” label. In particular their second wines, because production rules are not as stringent as those applied to other appellations. They not only allow higher yields but also offer more possibilities to those who want experiment and innovate regarding blending, grape varieties, production and ageing methods and durations.
As an example, they allow the use of 110 different grape varieties while only 13 are approved for the Côtes du Rhône AOP , 15 for the Bandol AOP and 22 for the Ardèche PGI.
So, the “Vin de Pays de Méditerranée” PGI features a number of wines that are made from long-forgotten ancient grape varieties now enjoying a revival.

© T. Joly
 Ancient and new grape varieties
Let’s name the Mollard, traditional red grape from the alpine departments, the chatus, cultivated in Ardèche, the Lledoner Pelut, a grape native to Catalonia that is related to Grenache, the Gros Vert and the Piquepoul, white grapes originally from Provence and Languedoc, the Riminèse that probably comes from the region of Rimini in Italy,…..
There are as well wines made from grape varieties created during the 20th century and not yet widely planted that are used alone or for blends. The Seyval, created in 1920 by crossing two clones of Seibel. The Chasan, born in 1958 from the crossing of Chardonnay with Listan, a variety cultivated in Jerez, in Andalusia. The Caladoc, created the same year by crossing Grenache Noir with Malbec that give red and rosé wines with character. The Marsellan, born in 1961 from the crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec that gives coloured, aromatic and full-bodied wines.

© T. Joly
 Wines for all tastes
The Gamaret, a 1970 crossing Gamay and Reichensteiner, that gives deeply coloured tannic wines.
However, the grapes most commonly used are well known varieties such as Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mouvèdre for the reds, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rolle, Muscat à petits grains, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussane for the whites.
Thanks to this diversity of terroirs and grape varieties, the PGI offers a wide range of wines to fit all tastes, pairing with a large number of dishes and suited for picnics under the sun as well as for robust winter dinners. Last but not the least, most of these wines are still moderately priced.

Mars 03, 2014
Thierry Joly