What does the Sud de France label (below) stands for?
The region UK site Sunfrance gives 2006 as the birth year for the Sud de France label which was 'designed to help identify the wines and foods of Languedoc-Roussillon (see map below, green areas), and encourage people to discover and taste them.
As you can see it covers a large area from Castelnaudary to the Avignon borders.
Getting back to the tasting, it invited us to 'rediscover' the wines from the region.
People outside France might have a hard time figuring out what all the appellations stand for so 'Sud de France' gives the average wine drinker a way to discover them.
As This French Life highlighted in May 2008, small producers including expats who recast themselves as winemakers in the region will benefit from the effort.
In our Consumed to Thrifty times, you can look at this French region as a good place to find good buys, wines in the $10 to $15 range.
I will elaborate on that in a separate piece.
If you like to expand your wine horizon beyond the usual grape suspects (merlot, pinot, chardonnay), you will find Carignan, Cinsault, Picpoul, Mourvedre in the reds and Bourboulenc, Clairette, Macabeu, Marsanne, Mauzac, Picpoul de Pinet, Roussanne, Ugni blanc and Vermentino, not to forget Viognier in the whites.
Unfortunately at this time, there is no US website for the label.
My suggestion at this time is you check the Wine and Food pages of Sunfrance.
Don't know much about history, I learned thanks to Sunfrance that "over 2,000 years ago, sea-faring Greeks imported wine and vine-growing, which the Romans later improved. In the first century, Pliny the Elder was already praising the white wines of Limoux and "wines from Béziers" that delighted Rome. Narbonne had 41 workshops for making amphorae that carried wine to the four corners of the Mediterranean."
They also trace the distillation of Eau de Vie (Brandy) in Languedoc all the way back to the Islamic conquest.
I will let you dig out the rest of the treasure trove of information by yourself.
As for my picks at the tasting I will share them here in small chunks.