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Pays D'Oc

Pays d’Oc is the IGP title for red, white and rosé wines that are made in a large area on the southern coast of France. The catchment area for the IGP corresponds roughly to the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region – one of the largest winegrowing areas in France. The IGP covers all the wines that are not made under the strict laws that govern the AOC-level appellations in the regions: among them Corbières, Minervois and the Languedoc appellation itself.

The Pays d’Oc IGP is arguably the most important in France, producing the majority of the country’s IGP wines. Five separate departements fall under the IGP, which is delimited by administrative boundaries rather than geographical ones. As such, a range of terrain is covered by the denomination, from the southern mountain ranges of the Massif Central to the river-crossed coastal plains. Vineyards jostle for space on the garrigue-strewn landscape.

Broadly speaking, the Pays d’Oc area has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters, with most rainfall compressed into spring and autumn. Dry, continental winds from the northwest bring cooling influences to the vineyards, as well as reducing disease pressure. This wind is interspersed with warm winds from the south which bring moisture to the vineyards.

However, there is a large variation of terroir in this vast region, a fact reflected in the many AOC appellations, which produce everything from dry white wines, as in Picpoul de Pinet, to intense, fortified red wines like Banyuls. The same is true of the wine styles produced under the Pays d’Oc IGP, which has a long list of permitted grape varieties. Mediterranean grape varieties like Grenache and Cinsault are joined in the vineyards by more famous French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Most Pays d’Oc wines are labelled varietally, a New World trend that has been incorporated in many IGP laws.

Due to the high quality of the terroir and the restrictive AOC laws – particularly those surrounding permitted grape varieties – many of the best (and most famous) wines made in the Languedoc-Roussillon region are labelled as IGP. Wines such as the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Mas de Daumas Gassac and the Domaine de la Grange portfolio command high prices and are widely sought after: both qualities not usually associated with IGP wines.

Pays d’Oc IGP wines were previously labelled as Vin de Pays d’Oc, although since 2009, the VDP category has been phased out of French wine laws. It has now been replaced with Indication Géographique Protégée, a category that is more closely related to the wine-labelling conventions of the European Union.