Languedoc Roussillon is 245,000 hectares of vines, from Nîmes to Perpignan. Suffice to say that it takes up space by spreading the coasts of the Rhone to the Spanish border. Red wines represent the overwhelming majority with 80% of the production, whites represent 20%. All for 30% of export. It is especially the first French wine region with 40% of the total French production!
The vineyard is best known as “the wine factory” in France. This was particularly the case in the past when the Languedoc produced a lot of wines from France (wines made from grapes from several vineyards in France, which is not a sign of quality …). However, in recent decades, the vineyard has managed to take control and offer, year after year, products much more qualitative. This change was probably made by the new generation of winemakers in the region who have done everything to value their terroir.
Finally, this vineyard is part of the producers of Natural Sweet Wines, both in white and red. The muscats of Mireval, Frontignan, or Lunel have built a solid reputation by offering products full of grace and smoothness.
Appellations of Languedoc Roussillon :
In thirty years, the Languedoc vineyard has been deeply restructured, from 450,000 to 218,000 hectares. Today, we find in this vineyard:
The wines of France: which today represent less than 10% of the production, although they were the most produced in the past.
The wines of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): which is the most produced wines with 75% of the production. It’s simply wines that can not claim a name. There is an IGP covering all of Languedoc (Pays d’OC IGP), but also an abundance of others.
Certainly, there are wines of France and IGP in the other vineyards of France. However, in this region, they are of very different importance. Here, the appellations represent only about 20% of the production. The appellations are divided as follow:
A winemaker must comply with specifications to be able to claim a name, and the more the name is prestigious, the more the specifications is restrictive (for example, no pesticide, a mandatory distance between each vine plan, ect .. .). In addition, it is logical to respect a specific geographical area. Once again, the more prestigious is the name, the smaller the area.
To know better the appellations, you will find for those interested names of appellations after “what you must remember”
Price range :
Budget side, although the quality of Languedoc wines has greatly increased in recent years, it remains the vineyard offering the most attractive prices. Between 5 and 10 € only will be enough to make you travel to the south of France. There are obviously high-end wines in the region, but to start discovering this terroir, this budget seems quite acceptable.
Vines and wine:
The grape varieties planted on the Languedoc Roussillon vineyard are:
Syrah (red) :
It is a grape of low yield, rare and precious, it is cultivated only on suitable and privileged territories. Syrah brings color, peppery aromas, fruity (raspberry and blackberry), violet, licorice, truffle and sometimes menthol. This grape allows the development of tannic but delicate wine.
Grenache noir (red) :
This variety is clearly the majority in Côtes du Rhône. It charms with its warmth and the roundness of its character.
Its skin is hard, thick, and bluish, which makes it easy enough to recognize. It brings color, a strong alcoholic potential, fruity and spicy aromas, sometimes pepper. Bold, round and greedy define the Grenache.
Chardonnay (white) : Its aromas vary according to the region in which it is grown. Here, we will have intense aromas of flowers and typical dried fruit, hazelnut, toasted.
Grenache blanc (white) :
It is a vigorous grape of intermediate maturity. It offers aromas of stone fruit (peach, pear). The wines are remarkable for their roundness and length in the mouth.
3 anecdotes for the meals:
- The vineyard is very old and dates back to before the foundation of Gaul Narbonne, which allows him to claim the oldest sparkling wine in the world: the Blanquette of Limoux.
- The Languedoc is certainly the leading producer of wine in France, but it is also the leader in organic wine from France with a little more than a third of the French organic vineyard produced.
- In Montpellier, there is a research center on oenology with the largest collection of vine varieties in the world: more than 7000 different grape varieties spread over 27 hectares.
What you must remember about Languedoc Roussillon:
The vineyard of Languedoc Roussillon offers us red wines with generous character, without imbalance or heaviness, but also white wines reminiscent of exotic fruits and white flowers.
Although long known as producing quantity and not quality, Languedoc Roussillon has since changed. The new winemakers in the region offer wines full of charm and personality. All for very good bottles at more than affordable prices!
Entry with a light white, dish accompanied by a generous red or dessert served with a sweet natural wine, you will easily find a Languedoc Roussillon wine to complement your meals.
The identity of this vineyard is now written as being full. Following a lot of effort to restore their image, the winemakers have managed to raise the coast of their soil, offering us quality products, leaving the quantity. This allows them today to enjoy a much better reputation, and it is well deserved! Each terroir offers different products, so again do not hesitate to test the unknown names to develop your references, because like everywhere lots of excellent wines await you.
Some reference wines:
In regional appellation:
PDO Languedoc is the only regional appellation since 2007.
In sub-regional appellations:
PDO: Corbière, Coteaux du Languedoc, Minervois, Fitou, Limoux, Clairette du Languedoc, Côte du Roussillon …
In communal appellation:
Pic Saint Loup, Cabrière, la Clape, Quatourze, Limoux, Blanquette de Limoux, Village Latour de France…
If ever the vineyard of Languedoc Roussillon really interests you, I highly recommend the site of the CIVL which is really very complete: