With literally hundreds of wineries scattered across a region that produces more wine than anywhere else in the world, Languedoc Roussillon wine tasting is an extremely popular way to the pass the time in the south of France.
The vast area stretches across the Mediterranean coast from Nimes and Montpellier in the east, around the Gulf of Lyon to the Spanish border. Once associated with mass production, the region has enjoyed a unique transformation to become firmly established on the country’s quality wine map.
Courtesy of a Mediterranean climate and diverse terroir, wine tasting in Languedoc allows visitors to sample an incredibly diverse array of styles, including European varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – as well as the more traditional Rhone grapes of Mourverde, Grenache, Syrah and Viognier.
As the double-barrelled name alludes, Languedoc and Roussillon were once independent regions in their own right. And, although they have been classed together, the pair share different geography and cultures; Languedoc is a quintessentially French region located on the coastal plains, while Roussillon settles on the cliff-tops or foothills of the Pyrenees and carries more Spanish and Catalan influences.
The introduction to the region of France’s vin de pays classification has opened up Languedoc Roussillon wine tasting experiences with the labelling of varietal wines and the blending of international varieties to compete with value wines around the world.
And, with an average of 300 days of annual sunshine, Languedoc Roussillon is an ideal destination for wine tours – with one in 10 bottles in the 20th century produced in this region there will never be a shortage in supply of wines to sample.
At Wine Paths, our local experts can arrange exclusive Languedoc Roussillon wine tastings at numerous wineries across the region. Our tours, which include elaborate tastings, luxury stays, exquisite local cuisine and unique experiences can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of.
Wine tasting in Languedoc typically involves exploring the vineyards and wine cellars of local wineries where visitors are often given the opportunity to meet the owners and learn about the history and culture of wine-making in the region.
Of course, this is followed by tastings of premium wines that are often accompanied by gourmet food pairings featuring the local cuisine for an unforgettable experience that satisfies all the senses.
Between mid-April and mid-October is regarded as the best time to visit up to 15 different wine regions in the area, with the most renowned being Minervois, Limoux, Corbières, Cabardes and Banyuls.
There are wine festivals held throughout the year – the locals rarely need an excuse to celebrate with local cuisine, wines and music – and, for food lovers, the truffle harvest takes place every year between mid-December and mid-February.
Regarded by some as the ‘wild south’ of wine-making, the region’s wineries tend to be more innovative and far less formal than some of the traditional estates that dominate Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne.
These avant-garde producers and rejuvenated vineyards have led to a significant increase in quality of Languedoc Roussillon wine tastings, which includes the development of more modern wines from Cremant de Limoux and the arrival of rosé and white wines at the Collioure appellations. Consequently, the wines from Languedoc carry an enormous number of names.
A little-known fact of the Languedoc wine region is that the first sparkling wines were produced in Limoux during the 13th century – Dom Perignon is said to have learned the secret from Saint Hilaire monks during a visit before returning the recipe to Champagne.
Visit our France destination page for more information regarding Languedoc Roussillon wine tasting experiences in one of France’s most aspirational regions.