Vin de Pays
As the legal classification for purportedly "lesser" wine regions that haven't been deemed significant enough for the more lofty "Appellation Controllee," Vins de Pays have long been considered "everyday" wines, drinkable but not worth much respect. "Vin de Pays at its worst is simply 'ordinaire' with a birth certificate ... always referred to as 'little'," Hugh Johnson wrote in his 1974 "Wine."
But times have changed, and while you'll still find few Vins de Pays in collector's cellars or commanding high prices on the auction market, the rising tide of technology has lifted many boats. And if you enjoy finding interesting wines of quality for reasonable prices as much as I do, you won't shun Vin de Pays simply because of its historic reputation.
Today's wine is a good example: A country wine from the Southern Rhone, the Coteaux ("hillsides") of the Pont du Gard. Available locally for $6, it could stand up to the competition at $10.
Cuvee des Galets 1999 Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Pont du Gard ($5.99)
FOOD MATCH: Fine with a quick variation on pizza Margherita - savory corn-and-wheat pancakes topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, mild goat cheese and basil.
WEBSITE: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/estezargues/DOMMAINE%20D'ANDEZON.htm (French only)
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Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2001