With its 300 days of sunshine a year and 200 days of wind, its mountains and coastline, its profusion of soil types and its abundance of aromatic flora, the Languedoc is host to a diverse range of terroirs.
Just as nature has shaped the topography of the region over many thousands of years, the winemakers and growers themselves have shaped the vinous landscape.
The region is steeped in 2500 years of winegrowing history, but is nonetheless still young at heart. Nine of the Languedoc’s 23 AOPs are under 20 years old. Continually innovating and reevaluating their practices, the winemakers of this region are at the forefront of a movement driving change.
The diverse selection of terroirs is echoed in the multitude of wine styles, from dry and semi-sweet sparklings, to zippy fresh whites, intense rosés, characterful and complex reds and food-friendly sweet fortified wines.
Winegrowers work alongside Mother Nature, using both instinct and a deep understanding of the soils and weather patterns, to craft not only characterful fun pour, but also wines of finesse and intrigue.
The wines from this region are as much about expressing winemakers’ creative energy and evoking a sense of pleasure as they are about expressing terroir. The terroirs and the wines have stories to tell, and these passionate people will fight for their right to tell them. This is, after all, a region with a rebellious streak.
Many names will be recognisable: AOPs Picpoul de Pinet, Limoux, Fitou, Corbières, to name but a few. Dedicated growers have worked hard to understand their local grape varieties, soil types and climates, thus forging strong identities; thanks to them these names mean something to drinkers nowadays. But the breadth of the Languedoc goes beyond these well-known styles.
With unique schistous soils and the highest percentage of producers working organically or biodynamically in the region, AOP Faugères produces wines of great elegance and freshness.
Look to the dynamic growers in AOP Languedoc-Montpeyroux, tucked into the foothills under the Larzac plateau, whose well-crafted red blends of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre are rich, aromatic and peppered with scents of the garrigue.
From the steep limestone valleys and cliffs of AOP La Clape, where vines are strengthened by forceful winds and baked by the Mediterranean sun, come briny whites based around the Bourboulenc grape.
A commitment to promoting biodiversity, confronting the challenges of climate change and striving to innovate are values at the heart of many Languedoc producers.