France - Languedoc
The Languedoc-Roussillon area of France runs inland along the Mediterranean coast from the French border with Spain to the region of Provence.
It is the world’s largest wine producing region – 285000 ha – and produces a third of France’s annual production. It was once notorious for helping create the EC wine lake; now, forward looking companies are concentrating on fruit driven varietals that are able to challenge the New World on quality, presentation and price. A wide variety of grapes are now planted.
Many wines are produced under its own appellation – d’Oc – but the region also contains within it well known AOCs such as Minervois, Corbieres, Fitou and St-Chinian
The region stretches 150 miles from the Banyuls AOC and Pyrenees mountains in the west, along the coast of the Mediterranean to the Rhone River and Provence in the east. The northern boundaries of the region sit on the Massif Central with the Cévennes mountain ranges and valleys dominating the area. Languedoc-Roussillon shares many terrain and climate characteristics with the neighbouring regions of Southern Rhone and Provence.
Vineyards in the Languedoc are generally planted along the coastal plains of the Mediterranean while those in the Roussillon are to be found in the narrow valleys around the Pyrenees. The soil varies from the chalk, limestone and gravel based soils inland to more alluvial soils near the coast. Some of the more highly rated vineyards are laid on top of ancient riverbed stones similar to those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape