Co-Operation is the Key !

Parfum De Shistes – Appellation D’Origine Protégée – Faugeres 2015 – Crus Faugeres, Roussane 60%, Marsanne 30%, Grenache Blanc 10%

One thing still amazes me about France, in particular my adopted home the Languedoc. There is still so much wine produced yet so many people are unaware of bargains to be had outside the usual avenues of purchase.

Each village or town has a Co-operative, this is a place where anyone not producing their own wine can take their grapes and receive a reward of monetary value or alcoholic produce, dependent on your preference.

The co-operative uses all the grapes from the appellation to then make its own wine, the upside of this being a large production of wine from the area and a low price.  The downside is that it’s generally not going to be produced by a sole grower. This can raise eyebrows- “It’s not exclusive enough”,” It’s of poor quality”, “It’s cheap and mass produced” These are all things I hear muttered in circles of for want of a better word – Wine Ponces.

The simple truth is that the quality is often far better than supermarket plonk, the price is very reasonable and the end product although not from a specific terroir or grower is usually an excellent representation of the appellation.

So with this in mind I recently purchased a bottle of Parfum Des Schistes from our local Co-op. To the eye it was a beautiful vivid gold. The nose was packed full of fresh pear, wild flowers and hints of the garrigue, a floral note was also present. A quick slurp indicates a great wine, full bodied well balanced and a little pinch of acid, medium finish with a hint of pineapple, and citrus fruit on the follow through, there is a slight mellowness in the flavours suggesting a small contact with oak, luckily not enough to temper the freshness.

This is a wine to slurp, it’s excellent as an aperitif or with scallops and seafood, very representative of the area and a real bargain. So next time you are near a co-operative – throwaway any pre-conceived snobbery and pop in – not only will you find a wide selection of wines but also a glut of knowledge. You may also come away pleasantly surprised. Or with 5 litres of Rose en Vrac like I did! Bon Santé!

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