Les Mains Noires
The Oc, or ‘Pays d’Oc’ as you’ll see it on most labels, refers to the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, known by the French as ‘Le Midi’. Planted here are both traditional grape varieties such as Grenache Gris (which makes very fine rosé) and Grenache Noir (try Pasquiers for a full-bodied flavoursome find). As well as the ‘cépages améliorateurs’ (varieties introduced in the last twenty to thirty years) such as Syrah and Merlot for reds, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc for whites.
The specific region which this wine comes from is the Agly Valley. Not the most attractive of names perhaps, but those in the know, will know it as a top spot within the Côtes du Roussillon. The grapes are grown on black schist soils at high altitude which also gives the wine an interesting smoky mineral edge.
Anyone familiar with the Côtes du Roussillon will be aware of the many wild dark reds the region has to offer but now and then you can come across a zesty gem such as this little number, both quality and affordable. Oh and extremely tasty!