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A pinot from the Languedoc to delight the senses: fresh, round and fruity with a hint of cherry and plenty of charm. Best drunk a little cool.
Product Code: FC40041
View all products by Les Vins Aujoux
This is the source of the bulk of our Beaujolais for the last 50 years, and many members will also have tried the fruits of The Society’s work with this excellent Beaujolais-based négoce in the form of our bestselling white wine, The Society’s White Burgundy, sourced from the Mâcon. Dealing with a négociant allows The Wine Society to pick and choose, often blending together from different estates in order to end up with a wine that is better than any of its parts.Négoces have had a huge part to play in the recent history of Beaujolais, some of it not so good but some of it very positive. For all its apparent simplicity, Beaujolais is a complicated region that is often the victim of its own capricious climate with late frosts and violent hailstorms a common recurrence. The one name that stands out for us is Dépagneux: Jean Dépagneux was the last of this illustrious merchant family who, with his partners, bought up a list of ailing names such as Aujoux, which had made its name selling Beaujolais to the once profitable Swiss market. Jean retired about a dozen years ago and his place was taken by a young and talented oenologist from Viré called Jean-Marc Darbon. One consequence of the change has been the meteoric rise in the quality of The Society’s White Burgundy.Since 2002 Les Vins Aujoux have operated an office in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the deep south of France, sourcing a range of wines.
Where do we start in a region so huge? With production nearly three times that of Bordeaux, or more than the whole of Australia, the Languedoc-Roussillon accounts for about a third of all French wine made. The sheer scale of production and the intense competition to channel such volumes through to the market means that in most years supply is greater than demand so prices are kept in check. It is not for nothing that wines from the South of France offer such great value for money. Here you get what you pay for. The trick is to get beyond the gain line and tap into a rich vein of almost endless vinous pleasure. Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays (also known as IGP – Indication Geographique Protegée) - officially, these are two quite different wine worlds that live side by side almost, seemingly, in complete ignorance of each other's existence. Luckily, reality is different and most producers see no conflict between the two and many produce wines under both codes. Nor is one necessarily better than the other. Indeed many of Languedoc's most iconic wines, such as Mas de Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères, are Vin de Pays. So why the difference? The status of Appellation Contrôlée was gradually conferred to the historic heartlands of Languedoc-Roussillon, in other words those sites in the foothills of the Massif Central and Pyrenees where viticulture has existed since the Romans. Appellation status is also about taste and about wine made from a narrow selection of mostly Mediterranean grape varieties.Vin de Pays (IGP) was introduced to improve the quality of what was then the mass of 'vins ordinaries'. It confers an identity to wines coming from those areas that were planted during the big periods of expansion, mostly in the plain between Narbonne and Pézenas. It allows for higher yields than AC, and, more importantly, allows a much wider palette of grape varieties for the growers to choose from.In terms of grape varieties Languedoc-Roussillon is France's answer to the New World. In the duality of Appellation Contrôlée and Vin de Pays, the conformism of Parisian bureaucracy goes hand in hand with the creative spirit of pure liberalism. So in terms of grape variety, almost anything goes! Native Languedoc and Roussillon varieties are at the heart of all appellation wines. With a changing climate and a tendency to extremes of weather, these ancient varieties are gaining favour.Carignan is the workhorse of Languedoc especially in the drier west. At its best, it produces a wine that is deeply coloured, quite tannic, sappy with brambly fruit. Many producers have woken up to the qualities of carignan if it is treated with respect and low yields are achieved.Grenache produces round tasting wines, often with low tannin and high alcohol and is rarely to be found on its own except in the fortified reds of Roussillon.Cinsault belongs in the heat of North Africa. In the South of France, it is widely grown and can add fragrance and lightness of touch to big brawny reds, but more often it is made into rosé.Like carignan, the native whites are more obviously associated with high production but with careful handling can produce wines of real interest. There is maccabeu and grenache blanc, grown mostly in Corbières and Roussillon. Clairette, grown mostly in the east, closer to the Rhône. Terret is grown extensively around Marsseillan, home of French vermouth. Maybe the best of all is the piquepoul which east of Beziers produces good quaffing dry picpoul de Pinet. Muscat used to be grown exclusively for vin doux naturel such as Saint Jean de Minervois and Rivesaltes but also produces full-flavoured dry wines of some interest.The biggest change in the South of France was the introduction of other grape varieties to help boost quality. For the reds, syrah was the most obvious import and is now widely planted and is usually part of a blend with grenache and/or carignan. Syrah is at its best where there is a little humidity such as in the east around Pic Saint Loup. Mourvèdre is much more complicated to grow but has a real future in areas close to the sea such as in parts of Fitou and Corbières.For the whites, roussanne and marsanne have also journeyed south from the Rhône to add finesse and flavour to Mediterranean blends. Increasingly, the Corsican vermentino, also known as rolle, can be found in blends where it often has a positive influence.Bordeaux has for long been an important connection for the Languedoc with the Canal du Midi there to prove the link. Not surprisingly, Languedoc producers were quick to introduce Bordeaux varieties in their vineyards. Merlot is the most widely planted and in some years has been very profitably exported in bulk to California or back to Bordeaux. The later ripening cabernets are probably better suited to the climate of the south and have great potential.Another revolution across the South of France has been in the quality of the whites. Before new standards of cellar hygiene and refrigeration were introduced, the concept of a fresh, dry and fruity Languedoc-Roussillon white wine was nigh impossible. Growers like Pierre Bésinet at Domaine du Bosc and Louis-Marie Teisserenc at Domaine de l'Arjolle were quick to spot the potential and successfully plant chardonnay, sauvignon and even the mysterious viognier.Regional StylesLanguedoc-Roussillon is such a large region that it is impossible to generalise about the entirety. It helps to divide it into three main sections: Eastern Languedoc, Western Languedoc, and Southern Lanuedoc. The east includes excellent appellations like Faugères, Côteaux du Languedoc, Pic saint Loup and Montpeyroux. The style of wine produced here is often Rhône-like: generous, thickly textured and often high in alcohol. Syrah is the outstanding grape variety and it blends well with grenache and sometimes mourvèdre. Nothing remains static in Languedoc and the old Côteaux du Languedoc is about to be replaced by a new appellation called simply Languedoc. Western Languedoc is more dramatic, mountainous, and much drier than the east, but it's also colder and the austerity of its climate and topography can be tasted in its wines. The carignan grape is often an essential element in many of the reds. Look out for saint-Chinian, Minervois and Saint Jean de Minervois (the latter for muscat based sweet vin doux naturel), Cabardès, Limoux (especially sparkling Crémant de Limoux).The south incorporates Corbières, Fitou and Roussillon. These are dry, hot regions surrounded by mountains which provide a majestic backdrop. Fitou is the oldest Appellation and confusingly comes in two parts. The best wines though come from in between in what is actually southern Corbières. Corbières is the largest single appellation in Languedoc, with myriad different styles from different soils and microclimates. This veritable chaos of crags, gorges, strewn with castles, wild herbs and abandoned abbeys encapsulates the heart of the Midi. The wines all have a little of that wildness and wonder.In Roussillon black schists on the north bank of the Agly make the best reds. These are typically fine and spicy with grenache and syrah. Traditionally the best-exposed sights near the village of Maury have produced sweet fortified wine. High mountains provide the opportunity to plant vines at higher altitudes and make fresher wines. Finally, this vast region ends in a narrow strip of land between mountain and the sea and with Spain on two sides. Twisting lanes and vertiginous vine terraces link the little ports of Collioure, Banyuls and Cerbère. The fortified wines are sold as Banyuls and are mostly Grenache-based with a little carignan. The Collioure appellation is for expressive, full-bodied and refined table wine which can be made from several grape varieties: carignan, syrah, grenache, mourvèdre and counoise for the reds and grenache, roussanne and vermentino for the whites.
"Easily drinkable but with no real depth or quality. That said, for the price what can you expect? I had it in the fridge for about an hour before drinking and it was fine - I can see this being drunk nicely chilled at a bbq with a few friends who aren’t too particular about wine. Decent for £7.95. "
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"Really good summer red with lots of fruit and an uncomplicated feel about it. I would recommend this with light flavoured summer salads and pasta. After 24 hours it remained floral and good to the taste - a good party wine. "
Mr D Mills (22-Mar-2021)
"Lovely colour in the glass but lacking in notes or sophistication to tickle the palate."
Mr Robert Young (16-Jan-2021)
"Hard to detect any nose on this, or much fruit. Not one for me, I'm afraid."
Mr Trevor Davies (06-Jan-2021)
"I was a fan of the previous society Pinot noir which was from burgundy, yes it was austere, and it required a bit of patience, it had character, but it was never going to appeal to Pinot noir new world drinkers, as it was an authentic rustic burgundy. This new one is from the south of France but has none of the sunny cherry red fruit attitude you might expect. Yes it has a faint inviting nose. But the wine? I tried it with Lamb, then a bit of cheese, but It took 16hrs! In a decanter before the remaining half bottle showed any hint of fruit, and it was pleasant enough, but even then it still had an edge which suggested it’s just not ready for drinking. 2019 is a pretty good vintage for all french wines...I’d hate to think what a pinot noir of this style would be like in lesser more common vintage. The hunt for a reasonably priced quaffing Pinot Noir from the wine society remains “work in progress” in my humble opinion."
Mr James Brown (18-Dec-2020)
"Good fruit for a cheap Pinot Noir. "
Mr Alastair Allan (25-Nov-2020)
"Got to agree with the other two reviewers who gave this one star. A nice purple colour, doesn't smell of much but it has an aftertaste that really is quite unpleasant. Maybe only be £7.50 but definently one to avoid."
Mr Nicholas Brook (25-Nov-2020)
"light uncomplicated fruity red , ideal for casual drinking when heavyweight NZ varieties are a bit too intense"
Mr John West (16-Oct-2020)
"What's not to like about this? Reminded us of the sort of light Burgundies we used to drink but we would now have to pay double than this for. Prefer it to the fruity but unbalanced New World equivalent. So we are ordering some more. "
Mr Richard Wilby (15-Oct-2020)
"I'm certainly not an expert, but my wife and I really enjoyed this with our roast beef yesterday. Uncomplicated and very tasty!"
Mr Christopher R C Tetley (12-Oct-2020)
"Superb value Pinot with lovely fruit and delicacy: a worthy addition to the Society’s own label range."
Mr Michael Derbyshire (30-Aug-2020)
"For us this was average."
Mr Daniel Cole (13-Jul-2020)
"Congratulations to the Society for discovering this typically French wine. If you are looking for an upfront, fruity, New World type wine, then this is not for you. Perhaps this is why some members did not like it. I found it had some body, a hint of fruit and tannin although somewhat closed. In short, exactly as I expected it to be for a Pinot Noir from this part of France at this price. I am glad the Society sources wine like this and not just the easy drinking, in your face stuff. At the price, definitely a 4 star. "
Mr Colin C Nash (12-Jul-2020)
"I agree 100% with Mr Morrison. In fact I can add nothing more on taste etc as the wording of his review is spot on, for us anyway! I guess one should not expect much for £7 for a PN from France. We drink a wide variety of wines from around the world and I think only once have I said of a WS wine 'I really don't like this at all'. The remainder is in the fridge for cooking so not wasted!"
Mrs Leonie Harvey (07-Jul-2020)
"Lovely mellow wine, easy to drink with food or just a glass on a night time, for its price you cant go wrong "
Kevin A Mager Esq (01-Jul-2020)
"Fruity, light and moreish. Not overly complex and not with particular depth, but I don't expect that at this price. A marked tendency to change taste and perceived acidity with the food being nibbled. Overall, an enjoyable light wine that won a rare vote of approval from my wife."
Mr John Day (08-Jun-2020)
"Maybe I opened this too early or maybe it was a bad bottle. Didn’t like it at all. It’s a deep purple, not a lot of body. It smells nice and fruity but there’s an overwhelming bitter taste. It’s not tannins, just on the edge of sour. Lingering aftertaste. Screw cap so put the lid back on and tried another glass next day. Same result but the fruity aroma hard to pick up. Down the sink I’m afraid."
Mr Ian Morrison (04-Jun-2020)
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