IGP Pays d’Oc for All Seasons – Special Feature

by Sara d’Amato

This feature was commissioned by Pays d’Oc IGP.

As the morning air becomes increasingly crisp, we tend to turn to more substantial reds that are as lush as the changing colours around us. Today’s feature will explore the diversity and quality you can expect of  IGP Pays d’Oc wines in France’s southern coast and their strength in this capacity to comfort and envelop despite the chill outdoors. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read the introduction to the wines of IGP Pays d’Oc where we explore the region, its history and all about the designation of IGP. You can also find below a guide to wines of top value available now at the LCBO as scored and tasted by the WineAlign team.

Join Sara and John for the Pays d’Oc Cocktail Hour. Register now.

An astounding 25 bottles of IGP Pays d’Oc wines are sold per second worldwide meaning this isn’t a wine just for those in the know. This coastal Mediterranean region that runs from just east of Nîmes to the Spanish border has proven highly responsive to consumer needs, changing trends and palates despite large scale production. How can such a vast and productive region maintain a reputation for quality? It comes down largely to the right conditions. There are many regions in the world where volume production is not conducive, think northern Rhône, Barolo or Burgundy. But unlike these regions, the Pays d’Oc offers just the right amount of sunshine, dry heat and variations in soil that it has the potential to produce diverse and surprisingly complex wines at an accessible price. Diversity is a notable feature in these wines that range from brisk rosés and aromatic whites to fleshy, warming red blends.

One of the key features of the wines of IGP Pays d’Oc is varietal labelling. Most IGP Pays d’Oc wines are labelled varietally which is considered a trend more closely associated with the “New World” (countries subjected to colonialism outside of Europe and the middle east).  The restrictive AOC laws of the Languedoc-Roussillon that include use of limited grape varieties, result in many wines to be labeled as IGP Pays d’Oc, from value-driven to premium examples. In contrast, with 58 authorized grape varieties, the IGP Pays d’Oc allows winemakers an unequaled freedom of expression. With roughly 120,000 hectares of vineyard grown in the IGP Pays d’Oc designation, a range of wine styles and prices can be found, even highly coveted finds that command top prices (generally unexpected from an IGP designation). An example that comes to mind are the limited bottlings of Domaine La Marèle grown just northwest of Montpellier whose fruit used to be sold to the local cooperative until 2004 when 8 hectares were relegated for an organically grown passion project. 

Varietal labelling in Pays d’Oc IGP makes a fair bit of sense given the number of permitted grape varieties used. What tends to do best in the Pays d’Oc are varieties suitable to warm, sunny climates and those that are drought resistant. Another benefit of having so many grape varieties at your disposal are the inventive blends that can be created. Where else in France would you find pinot noir blended with syrah? Certainly not in the regional homeland of either of these varieties. Out the of array of grapes at the disposal of the winemaker, there are eight main varieties that dominate. In white: chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier, muscat à petits grains. In red: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and grenache. With respect to rosé wines, grenache and cinsault lead the charge. Let’s take a closer look at our top value LCBO selections through the lens of several of these important varieties.

A note on scores: At WineAlign our numbered scores are not based on value. For wines reviewed, we offer a separate 0-5 star-rated value in addition to our scores that use the 100-point scale. We do not use a specific formula to achieve the value rating. Each critic is responsible for choosing a value rating based on their own interpretation of the wine. Generally, wines that are less expensive score lower on the 100-point scale. Wines that are less expensive will rate higher on the value star rating system if they are representative of place and grape and are of good quality. As Pays d’Oc wines tend to be high in value given their accessible prices, I’ve listed their aggregate value ratings below. Please click on the wines for full notes and scores. 

Fall Finds at the LCBO/VINTAGES:


The undisputed queen of whites, chardonnay makes a statement in IGP Pays d’Oc with nearly 14,000 hectares planted in the area.

Laurent Miquel Pere Et Fils Chardonnay 2019

Laurent Miquel Pere et Fils Chardonnay 2019 ($14.00) Lifford Wines & Spirits – 4.5 stars

Now in its 8th generation of winemakers, Laurent Miquel focuses on sustainable production but is known for modern winemaking that yields unpretentious results. Elegant and nuanced, this chardonnay may at first appear unassuming but it features distinctive varietal character. Your mind may veer towards Chablis due to its unoaked and refreshing nature with a leesy, lightly viscous element that carries the flavours for surprising length on the palate.


Syrah, grenache, merlot and cinsault are top rosé varieties in the Pays d’Oc IGP wines and there is no end to creative combinations.

Vignobles Lorgeril L' Orangeraie 2020

Vignobles Lorgeril L’ Orangeraie 2020 ($11.85) Vinexx – 4.5 stars

Since 1620, Maison Lorgeril has been a family enterprise originating in the south of France. They now own 6 wineries across 9 different AOC districts with 300 hectares of vineyards and almost all of their land is either HVE certified or in conversion to organics. This assemblage combines some of the region’s most important grape varieties into one pale and perfectly pink, rosé. Salty, light and ethereal and made from a blend of 15% syrah, 20% merlot, 15% grenache, 50% cinsault. Uncomplicated, dry, easy drinking and reflective of the expansive Pays d’Oc IGP territory. *Taste along with us on September 25th. Register here.


No doubt one of the most beloved grapes internationally, and although it arrived in the Languedoc-Roussillon after it surfaced in Bordeaux, Pays d’Oc IGP is one of the world’s leading producers of the variety outside of Bordeaux. It tends to produce affable, easy-drinking reds that are varietally labeled in the Pays d’Oc IGP wines along with red and rosé blends, often accompanied by cabernet sauvignon.

Philippe De Rothschild Merlot 2019

Philippe de Rothschild Merlot 2019 ($13.80) Arterra Wines Canada – 4 stars

Given Philippe de Rothschild’s Bordelaise origins, it is no surprise that they are specialists in this variety. This example shows off the appealing ripeness of the Pays d’Oc IGP wines but with notable restraint. You can expect a jubilant merlot, juicy with some gumption from tannin and a sophisticated dried herbal element. This well-poised and sophisticated find is worthy of some attention, even more so at this price.

Les Jamelles Merlot 2019

Les Jamelles Merlot 2019 ($14.95) Philippe Dandurand Wines – 4 stars

Husband-and-wife winemaking team Laurent and Catherine Delaunay of Les Jamelles, make up one of the largest collections of varietally-labelled wines for Pays d’Oc IGP. This mid-weight, easy drinking merlot is exuberant and pleasantly fleshy without a great deal of heaviness. Made in an international style with very little notable oak and featuring flavours of cherry jam, bay leaf and a hint of chocolate. Satisfyingly uncomplicated.

Inventive Blends – Pinot Noir-Syrah

C'est La Vie! Pinot Noir Syrah 2019

C’est La Vie! Pinot Noir Syrah 2019 ($12.80( Dionysus Wines & Spirits – 4 stars

Burgundy and the Rhône meet in the Pays d’Oc IGP vineyard. Pinot noir and syrah may be an uncommon blend by their thoughtful combination has yielded a surprisingly pleasurable result. It makes some sense as they can both thrive in moderate climates. Peppery and mid-weight with appealing freshness and plenty of local garrigue.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Bordeaux and Napa Valley may be benchmarks for the variety, but it is grown extensively elsewhere in Europe as well as internationally and is not responsible for 6% of the world’s area under vine. It has become a mainstay of the Pays d’Oc IGP after having been introduced to the Languedoc Roussillon region in 1970 by Mas de Daumas Gassac’s Aimé Guibert and is now accounts for 33% of land under vine in the region.

Gerard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Gerard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($13.90) Family Wine Merchants – 4.5 stars

Gérard Bertrand specializes in the management of biodynamically certified estates. A former rugby star with a profound understanding of the region, Bertrand’s wines are widely considered to be top values in the category of Pays d’Oc IGP and Languedoc-Roussillon as they are exceptionally reflective of place. This elegant cabernet sauvignon offers a great deal of fruit spice, bramble and black cherry with mildly grippy tannins and a pleasant degree of freshness. Not too ripe, not too jammy, just right. *Taste along with us on September 25th. Register here.


An impressive 40,000 hectares of this wildly aromatic grape variety is grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon. It generally does best in cooler, higher altitude sub-regions with greater diurnal shift. In the Pays d’Oc IGP, this grape shows up on rosés, fruity and aromatic reds to more potent barrel-aged examples.

Terroirs Du Vent La Violette Syrah 2017

Jean-Luc Colombo Terroirs du Vent La Violette Syrah 2017 ($17.95) Profile Wine Group – 4.5 stars

Jean Luc Colombo is an iconic and innovative producer of the Rhône Valley who is anything but a conformist. Here is a wholly compelling Languedoc sourced syrah at a great price. The label states that the wine is “a perfume of pleasure” and the nose certainly lives up the description with profuse peppery notes, violets, and ripe brambly blackberry fruit along with licorice and trademark meatiness. In limited supply.

That’s not all! Join John Szabo and me on September 25th for an IGP virtual cocktail hour where we’ll delve into the wines of this non-conformist playground to find creative wines of quality, unique in France. It’s free to register. Taste along with your favourite Pays d’Oc IGP wines or choose from our suggested list available at the LCBO.

For a deeper dive, stay tuned for an upcoming episode of d’Amato & Szabo Wine Thieves where we’ll get to the bottom of the bottle, investigating what makes the wines of the IGP Pays d’Oc tick. We’ll be speaking to some top producers of the region who will take us through this sun-drenched region from vine to glass.



This feature was commissioned by Pays d’Oc IGP. As a regular feature, WineAlign tastes wines submitted by a single winery, agent or region. Our writers independently, as always, taste, review and rate the wines – good, bad and indifferent, and those reviews are posted on WineAlign. We then independently recommend wines to appear in the article. Wineries, wine agents, or regions pay for this service. Ads for some wines may appear at the same time, but the decision on which wines to put forward in our report, and its content, is entirely up to WineAlign.

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