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France

Languedoc Roussillon

  • The Languedoc and Roussillon are two regions that are often hyphenated and treated as one, but they are actually quite distinct.

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  • The Languedoc is the area in the départments of the Garde (Costières de Nîmes), Herault, and Aude (Corbières). The best vineyards are in the hills, which are referred to as the Coteaux du Languedoc. These include fairly well-known regions such as Faugères, St. Chinian, Pic St. Loup and La Clape as well as lesser-known regions such as Coteaux de la Méjanelle, Quatourze and Coteaux de St. Christol, among others.

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  • The Coteaux du Languedoc are excellent vineyard sites producing exciting wines in a fairly New World style from a similar grape blend to that of the Rhône. The soil in these vineyards is mostly schist and the climate is moderated by the altitude of the hills.

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  • Corbières, Fitou and Minervois are transitional regions between Languedoc and Roussillon. Until recently, the advances in quality in the Roussillon have not been as dramatic as among the best producers of the Languedoc, but some winemakers have started to employ modern technique and are producing some delicious wines. In this region and in Côtes du Roussillon to the south, interesting wines are being produced, with the addition of Macabeo (known as Viura in Spain's Rioja region) for the whites and Lladoner Pelut for the reds. Rousillon is a mountainous region, consisting of the eastern portion of the Pyrénées and has a distinct Spanish influence.

    Among the best known crus of this area are Banyuls and Collioure on the rocky cliffs leading down to the Mediterranean just above the Spanish border. Some of the best Grenache in all of France is produced in this dramatic site, with some being fortified and sold as sweet Banyuls, and some being fermented to dryness to make a powerful table wine called Collioure.

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