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Home Wine Regions French Wine Regions Overview French Wine Regions - Languedoc-Roussillon

French Wine Regions -  Languedoc-Roussillon

The largest of all wine producing regions, the Languedoc-Roussillon is located on the Mediterranean Sea, with the Rhone Delta on one side and Spain on the other side. This 10,500 square mile wine grape growing region produces more than 2 billion bottles of wine annually from the vineyards of more than 50 thousand growers. There are more than 3,000 wineries serving this region.

Mild winters and hot summers typical of the Mediterranean region combine with a variety of easily drained soils to create perfect grape growing conditions. Carignan, Grenache, Merlot, Roussane, Viognier, and Chardonnay all grow in abundance in this region.

Mass growing of grapes began here in the 6th century BC under Greece, but expanded rapidly when Rome took control. The Visigoths continued the trend in the 5th century, as did the Roman Catholic monasteries of the 9th century. By the end of the 19th century, the last unused growing regions and those regions used for growing grains were converted into vineyards. More than half of the grapes grown in France are grown here.

Not all of the vineyards here have historically produced fine wines. Improvements in research and sharing of knowledge have benefited the mediocre wine producers and raised the whole reputation of the area. In particular, techniques for Syrah have improved. These purple grapes are said to be sweet and spicy all at once. Growth of the Vin de Pays d'Oc over the last decade has also helped improve vineyard reputations here.

A distinctive feature of this wine growing region is that most of the local growers are members of cooperatives, rather than having their own wineries.

A popular local production from cooperatives is the Vin Doux Naturel. Grape spirit is used to halt the fermentation of the Muscat or Grenache used in production, allowing the drink to remain sweet with a hefty alcoholic kick to it. Another good desert wine, known for how well it ages, is the Muscat de Frontignan.

Another popular red wine here is the Corbières. About 70 million bottles of it are produced here annually. It should be aged 3 to 7 years before drinking.

For a more spicy red wine experience, you could try those produced from Carignan. They tend to also have plenty of body and a licorice flavor.

If you're into white wine, there are also plenty of those made here. Special techniques are used to produce white wines that are dry with an apple fragrance. So there is a wine for every wine enthusiast in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region.