Languedoc-Roussillon is a historic region in the south of France stretching from Collioure on the Spanish border to Nîmes near the Rhône Valley. With over 300,000 hectares of vines, the area is the largest producer of wine in France – wines which are well-known for being much better than their prices indicate.
As far back as Roman times, the climate and soil types of the region were appreciated for producing wine – and the proximity to the Rhöne and the Mediterranean meant the area has always been well-connected to trade routes. Unfortunately, in the 1970s overproduction focused on quantity rather than quality and gave the region a bad reputation, but this has gradually been corrected. Nowadays, yields are lower and splendidly expressive wines with character are once more the order of the day. Appellations such as Faugères and Corbières are quickly gaining in prestige among some of the more demanding wine-drinkers in the world, although most of the region’s wines are still commercialized as simple table wines.
An almost infinite range of grape varieties grow in Languedoc-Roussillon: red grapes include Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon... and for white wines, Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and many more. Blend wines are the most common ones, often made from the fruit of old vines on estates where different grape varieties grow side by side. But these magical landscapes produce a wide range of other styles too: full-bodied and fruity red wines, fresh and light white wines, or creamy barrel-aged whites; rosés; historic sparkling wines like Blanquette de Limoux; and wonderful fortified or sweet dessert wines such as Maury and Banyuls wines.