• By: Jane Staples

Wines Under $20 for the Holiday Season From the Sunny South of France

A recent sampling of France’s Pays d’Oc wines provided me with a wonderful introduction to this winemaking area and I am happy to share what I learned. The great news is that these wines hit the sweet spot for your wine dollars. Just in time for the holiday season, they are available at the LCBO, all priced under $20.

About The Pays d’Oc Vineyards

Languedoc-Roussillon is located in southern France, stretching from the Spanish border to the Rhône delta, with a great variety of landscapes and contrasting climatic conditions. The land falls in tiers facing the Mediterranean, with three levels.  The climate in Pays d’Oc is Mediterranean but is also subject to Atlantic influences from the west and continental influences from the east.  The growing climate is also influenced by four types of winds — known as the four great winds — each with its own distinctive name: the mistral, the tramontane, the sailor and the autan. With the variety of climatic conditions and soil types in Pays d’Oc, winemakers are able to produce wines from 58 grape varieties, offering extraordinary value for the price.

White wine, red and rosé styles are produced from these diverse terroirs, where wine has been made for at least 2500 years. Pays d’Oc IGP guarantees the provenance of its wines. IGP and AOP (former AOC) are the only official European signs of quality.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Pays d’Oc IGP, France

This was a delightful wine discovery; it’s more delicate and floral than the well-known Sauv Blancs from New Zealand. Fresh and lively, with aromas and flavours of grapefruit and fresh pineapple. A hit with salads, or try it with smoked trout.

Dry  12.5%  • LCBO# 407536 • $15.55

Laurent Miquel Père et Fils Unoaked Chardonnay 2022
Pays d’Oc IGP, France

This Chardonnay is made in an unoaked style, resulting in a fresh palate that emphasizes fruit flavours of apple, melon and pear, along with mineral and herbal touches. There’s bright acidity and an elegant finish lingers with the melon and herbal notes. Enjoy it with chicken, seafood or salads.

Dry  13% •  LCBO# 157909 •  $16

Gabriel Meffre le Fat Bastard Shiraz 2022
Pays d’Oc IGP, France

A playful label with a seriously great wine inside, made from grapes grown near the fortified city of Carcassonne in Languedoc-Roussillon. You’ll find appetizing aromas of peony, black olives and subtle spices. The juicy palate is medium to full-bodied, fruity and flavourful, showing black cherry, ginger and vanilla. This very versatile wine will pair very well with a charcuterie board, roast breast of duck or a beef stew. It will also accompany chocolate desserts.

Dry  13% •  LCBO# 563122  •  $14.95

Paul Mas Cabernet Sauvignon 2022
Pays d’Oc IGP, France

Aromatic and full-bodied, this wine pours excellent value into your glass. It shows all the flavours you love about a Cab Sauv; dark berries, mint, vanilla, cocoa and tobacco. It’s more fruity mid-palate, with hints of smoky spice on the finish. A classic pairing for prime roast beef or grilled steak and it will also complement mince pie very nicely.

Dry  13.5% •  LCBO# 30749 • $14.95

The holiday season is here, and with it, we do more entertaining and socializing. Please remember to drink responsibly, as always. Use a designated driver or Uber to get home safely. Your loved ones will appreciate it!


For more wine and food discovery from Jane Staples, visit www.bellovinoj.com

Header image: Languedoc vineyards – sopexa.com