How’s $7.99/bottle for real-deal, small grower/producer, organically farmed, artisanal French wine sound? After pouring the Chateau d’Oupia Les Heretiques at our free tasting last weekend, I forgot how great it was. It’s always a fabulous value, but the 2017 vintage is not only completely affordable, it’s delicious and it comes from one of the Languedoc’s top estates. Composed almost entirely of old-vine Carignan, with a splash of Syrah, it delivers an incredible assortment of aromas and flavors for $10.
2017 Chateau d’Oupia Les Heretiques
The perfect French bistro, house, table, or country red wine! Call it whatever you like. It’s delicious!!!
Let me get right to what this stuff tastes like, why it’s such a good value, and why you should buy a case. Boasting a killer nose of spicy, brambly, wild raspberry, dark cherry, and earth, it’s pure, clean, and it just feels good drinking it. It’s not too heavy, but it’s certainly not light, and it’s fresh and easy to drink, with juicy acidity and low tannin. And when you consider that this is truly artisanal wine from a small family owned and operated winery, I think you’ll agree that the price is more than fair.
So what is artisanal? It’s a term that gets thrown around loosely in the wine world, but to me it means a lot of things. It means small production, carefully crafted wine from a small, independent vigneron. It also means clean farming without the use of pesticides or chemicals, hand harvesting of grapes to assure only good bunches make it into the fermentation vat, but most importantly it refers to how the wine is made once the grapes arrive in the cellar.
Marie-Pierre Iché of Chateau d’Oupia makes and bottles this wine with nothing more than grapes, native yeasts, a bit of sulfur dioxide, and patience. She doesn’t add sugar to boost alcohol, she doesn’t add artificial tannin or acidity, she adds no coloring agents or enzymes, and she only uses sulfur dioxide at bottling to make sure the wine arrives stateside in good shape. For a longer conversation about chemical additives and sulfur dioxide and their uses in wines and foods, stop by the store. Myself or one of my staff would be more than happy to discuss this topic with you.
But back to Chateau d’Oupia and the estate’s legacy as one of the Languedoc’s top producers. Founder Andre Iché was one of the first independent vignerons of the Languedoc. For years, he sold his wines to negociants to blend and bottle, but he always took pride in his work and his wines. Towards the end of the 20th century, a visiting Burgundian winemaker visited André, tasted his wines, and was so enthused that he convinced him to bottle and market his production. The rest, as they say, is history. Andre passed away in 2007, but his able and passionate daughter Marie-Pierre carried on the family’s work.
When the estate’s wines hit the US market, they were met with immediate praise and their Les Heretiques established itself as one of the great red wine values in the world. Robert Parker called it the “ideal bistro wine” while Jeb Dunnuck called it a “screaming value” that “should drink beautifully over the next 5+ years.” Yep, they’re both 100% right! Ideal at the dining table with classic bistro fare (steak frites, roast chicken and root veggies, etc), it’s also a perfect candidate for your new house red.
That’s a lot of writing about a wine that’s less than $10, but I’m passionate about this one. It’s the kind of wine that I’m proud to sell and it’s the kind of wine that epitomizes the Table Wine ethic. Stop by and pick some of this one up or call us at 828.505.8588 and we can run your card over the phone. Cheers to Chateau d’Oupia and cheers to happy drinking and eating in Asheville.
Owner/Operator at Table Wine