Languedoc Roussillon

IN A NUTSHELL...

The Languedoc-Roussillon is famous for many things: beautiful Roman villages, the Pyrenees, stunning scenery and last but by no means least wine. When it comes to its reputation for wine though the Languedoc-Roussillon still has a lot to do to gain the recognition for quality that it really deserves.  As one wine writer summed up in an article he wrote on the region “What the Languedoc-Roussillon lacks in prestige it makes up for in aspiration.”

WINE REGIONS

Where to begin with the wine regions of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Well, looking at the overall picture it stretches across Southern France, spanning the Mediterranean coastline from the French border with Spain to the outskirts of Nimes, on the border with the Rhone. In terms of total number of appellations there are around ninety to date, so it comes as no surprise to learn that if the Languedoc were to declare itself independent tomorrow it would be the ninth largest vine growing region in the world! An impressive statistic, which means there are huge amount of wines to discovered and enjoyed and to help you on your way we have picked out a few.

THE CLASSIFIED WINE REGIONS

There are around 36 classified appellations in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Some of these appellations have been well established including the following:

PICPOUL DE PINET:

Originally recognised as VDQS status in 1954 it finally gained AOC status in its own right on 14th February 2013. Overlooking the Thau lagoon between Sete and Agde Picpoul de Pinets production of white wine is the largest and best known in the Languedoc Roussillon.

CORBIERES:

Corbieres joined the AOC family in 1985. As a wine region it is the largest of the Languedoc and fourth largest wine growing area in France. Ninty five percent of production is red wine and the rest rose and white. The good news is its reputation for high end quality wines is finally being recognised and if you are looking high quality great value then Corbiere is most definitely a region worth looking at

FITOU:

A red wine appellation the sixty year old Fitou vineyards stretches over 2,300 hectares covering two very distinct areas: one by the Mediterranean coast and the other at the heart of the Corbieres mountain range.  The first red wine from the Languedoc to achieve AOC status the decree was granted on 28th August 1948 and later modified on 25th October 2011. The principal grape variety grown in this region is Carignan. As this must not exceed seventy percent of the wine other grapes can also be added: Syrah Mourvedre and Grenache

Then you have…..

….AOC LANGUEDOC

This particular appellation was officially recognised on 30th April 2007. It is based on a modification of the Coteaux du Languedoc decree and now covers all the AOC registered areas of the Languedoc-Roussillon To confuse matters it is running alongside the Coteaux du Languedoc classification but this is only until 2017. Generally speaking it is seen by many growers as a very positive step forward to educating consumers about the Languedoc-Roussillon and it includes sub-regional AOCs such as:

AOC LANGUEDOC PIC SAINT LOUP:

Nestling in the foothills of the Cevennes some twenty kilometres to the north of Montpellier in the Herault, the Pic Saint Loup vineyards are among the Languedoc’s most northerly. Part of the AOC Languedoc family it is soon to be recognised as an AOC in its own right and red and rose account for over three quarters of production

PAYS D’OC

In the 1980s France was losing its share of the wine market. It needed to do something but not at the expense of its AOC which had been formed to guarantee origin and to protect the ancient wines of France. So, in 1983 France introduced the category of Vins de Pays and the Languedoc-Roussillon started producing Vins e Pays D’Oc  in 1987. This new category allowed producers much more freedom to choose grape varietals and where to plant them. The New World was showing creativity and innovation now the Languedoc Roussillon was able to express the same characters. In 2009 the Vin de pays classification was replaced by the new IGP – Indication Geographique Protegee (Protected Geographical Region) designation this change demonstrating that the criteria for the production of wine is changing continually 

The vineyards of the Vins de Pays D’OC wind along the Mediterranean Sea weaving along four departments in the Languedoc-Roussillon: Aude, Gard, Herault and the Pyrenees-Orientales and within these departments there are to date around ninety different regional appellations. So with all these different appellations it is no surprise to learn that if the Languedoc-Roussillon was to declare itself independent it would be the ninth largest vine growing nation in the world.

 VINS DE PAYS DE LA HAUTE VALLEE DE L’AUDE

The Haute Vallee de l’Aude has the European IGP (Indication Geographique Protegee) This status replaced the VDP status on 31 December 2011

ROUSSILLON

Roussillon was incorporated into France as a province in 1659 and became a department of the Pyrenees-Orientales in 1790. In terms of Classified wines the region has three main classifications:

AOP certified dry wines
AOP certified Vins Doux Naturels
IGPs

Grape representations to try:

Pasquiers Grenache Cinsault Rosé

Le Fou Pinot Noir

Les Volet Malbec

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