What are the Languedoc-Roussillon Wine Regions?
A Little Bit About the Languedoc-Roussillon Wine Region
For centuries, if not millennia (the Greeks started producing wines there in the 5th century BC), the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France produced the country's "plonk" wines. The wines that the common folk drank every day, oceans of drinkable but unremarkable wines that didn't have to adhere to many of the minimum quality standards that the country's famous wine regions had to follow.
The revolution from quantity to quality production slowly began at the beginning of the 20th century and really got going in the 1980's.
Today the region still produces a lot of plonk, roughly 1 in 3 appellated wines produced in France come from the region, but a growing number of producers are crafting seriously high quality wines that rival the wines produced anywhere else in the country, often at a fraction of the price.
One of the most interesting and exciting things about the region is the lack of production rules and regulations. In most of France's other certified wine growing regions producers must adhere to many rules that limit the grape varieties that they can grow, how they can grow them, the percentages of grapes they are allowed to use in their blends and many other similar restrictions that are designed to give the buyer confidence in knowing exactly what they are getting when they buy a bottle of wine from "????" region. With many fewer such restrictions in Languedoc-Roussillon, rules that were created to help producers make as much wine as possible, now allow winemakers to be creative and experimental and use grapes and blends that wouldn't be possible in other regions.
With the explosion in popularity of high quality, dry Rose from Provence, the Languedoc-Roussillon region is now France's largest producer of organically grown wines! The majority of Languedoc’s wines are still red blends, but rosé is increasingly popular and still white wines are produced here, as are sparkling wines made in the traditional Champagne method. The sparkling wine technique was made famous because of its association with Champagne but one that’s believed to have been discovered in Languedoc’s Limoux area with documents dating to 1544 support this claim.
Languedoc-Roussilon's most popular varietals are much the same as its more famous next door neighbor, the Rhone River Valley, but as we mentioned above, the looser regulations allow for other varietals as well. Common red varieties include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir. Popular white varieties include Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul, Marsanne and Roussanne for typical regional varietals as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.