The Languedoc region has seen a renaissance in the last two decades having shifted its production from high quantity to focus more on quality and importantly focus has been placed back on the vineyards. Viticulture is one of the main drivers of the local economy, and many of the wineries are small family holdings that date back generations but a new wave of innovative thinking in vineyard and vinification practices has yielded a diverse range of terroir-driven wines, including the greatest percentage of organic wines in France. With this revival, Languedoc in many ways has become a new frontier for French wine. Not only does it offer a diverse range of wine styles but it delivers exceptional quality at approachable prices.
These are innovative wines that combine the best of traditional practices with new winemaking ideas and technology. The region is also evolving because of newcomers, who are buying up local land and joining the Languedoc winemaking community.
There is a vast array of grape varieties in Languedoc Roussillon; Carignan is popular, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault tend to produce more medium to full bodied reds – previously high in alcohol thanks to the warm climate and plentiful sunshine but with some thoughtful crop cover and early harvesting, alcohols can be a degree or two lower than before. For the whites, Picpoul, Clairette, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and a smattering of Chenin Blanc along with some lesser known varieties such as Bourboulenc, Vermentino and Macabeo are the most often planted. Rose is widely produced from the same grape varieties as well as Grenache Gris which gives a lovely pink hue. Cremant de Limoux is supposedly older than Champagne although made using the same method (Champenoise) and super value and finally a red fortified wine made from Grenache called “Maury” that lasts up to 100 years. Quite the selection!