Domaine de Cabrials, Pays d’Oc IGP (Occitanie, France) Pinot Noir 2018

($12, HB Wine Merchants):  European regulations for naming wines are Byzantine.  The top tier is labeled Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) formerly known as Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).   (A quirk in regulations allow the French to continue to use the older AOC nomenclature.)   A step below is Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP).  IGP wines typically are labeled by grape name whereas AOC (AOP) wines are typically labeled by where the grapes are grown and usually prohibit the use of grape names, though that prohibition is not rigorously enforced at the lower prestige appellations, such as Bourgogne Rouge.  Regulations are more relaxed for IGP wines, allowing for greater yields and a great choice of grapes.  Hence, you see this Pinot Noir coming from outside of Burgundy.  Rather than shunning this less prestigious IGP category, consumers should embrace it because they can offer exceptional value, as this wine and others from Domaines de Cabrials demonstrate.  This uncomplicated wine delivers ripe black fruit flavors with a hint of savory nuances.  Suave tannins and the right amount of acidity make it ready to drink now.  Is it one of the most compelling Pinot Noirs I’ve ever tasted?  No.  Is it one of the best $12 Pinot Noirs I’ve ever tasted?  Yes.
88 Michael Apstein May 12, 2020