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by Fred McMillin
for July 24, 1997

What's Up, d'Oc?

Prologue: This d'Oc makes house calls. More and more frequently, the label on the bottle of wine you bring home will read "Vin de Pays D'OC!" So, let's see what those French words mean.

  • Vin (van)—wine

  • Pays (peh-yee)—country

  • d'Oc (dok)—A wine region that includes nearly all of the French Mediterranean coast.
Now, putting them together.
  • Vin de Pays—This "wine of the country" is the newest category of French wines, established in 1973. It's big appeal is that the name of the grape may appear on Vin de Pays labels. This varietal labelling is prohibited on most of the wines in the classic French category, Appellation d'Origine Controlee, established in 1935. Vin de Pays wines may be made in a number of designated regions of France.

  • Vin de Pays d'Oc—Peh-yee wines made in the d'Oc region.
The Rest of the Story: Parliament Imports of New Jersey has brought in these varietal wines for a number of years. They regularly win Best Buy kuddos from my panel. The label to remember is Chantefleur. To get acquainted, try the '96 Chardonnay. The taste is light and refreshing; so is the price...only five bucks!

1996 Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Importer—Parliament Import Co., New Jersey
Phone—(609) 348-1100

Postscript: What's the origin of the regional name d'Oc? Jancis Robinson, British authority, tells us a language spoken in southern France was Occitan; the word for "yes" was "d'oc." If you drink Chardonnays under $10, I think you'll say YES to this Chantefleur.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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