Tasting the Vin des Hautes Alpes IGP wine in the thin air at more than 1600 m. in a mountain hotel in Cervières on the road to the Col d’Izoard, this is immediately a soft red wine for the mountains. A distinctive and slightly peppery taste reminiscent of the Swiss Valais or the new Austrian reds, this one is more tangy than a Mondeuse from Savoie. No great after-taste or bouquet but a refreshing and slightly tangy swig, standing up well to the locally-sourced soupe des ortilles, ie nettles. It tasted best with the local cheeses, Bleu de Queyras lightly scented with parsley and a soft goats cheese laden with fresh herbs.
The Vin de Pays des Hautes Alpes IGP is a wine defined over the past fifty years; it’s a vin de pays from the higher altitude vineyards relying on blends of “new breed” grapes including Jacquère, Altesse, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chasan, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot noir and Pinot gris. The history of vineyards near Tallard and Embrun can be traced back to the Roman period but became highly developed - and enjoyed by travellers and pilgrims - in the Middle Ages when Embrun became a prominent religious centre.