French Languedoc Roussillon Provence Wines

French Rhône Wines

Languedoc-Roussillon is a large area that sweeps across southern French from the Spanish border to the Rhône estuary. Commonly known as the Midi, it produces almost one third of all French wines and is currently a hot bed of innovation and exciting winemaking.

Hillside locations are replacing the flatland vineyards which once produced an enormous amount of Vin Ordinaire. Emphasis is now being placed on lower yields, barrique (a wooden barrel associated with Burgundy) ageing and more complex blending.

Many Rhône varieties, such as Syrah and Grenache, are planted here to grow alongside Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Other well-known grape varieties can be seen on wine labels, particularly from the Vin de Pay d'Oc, an area covering the whole of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Important appellations include Minervois, Corbières, Fitou and Côtes du Roussillon.

Provence lies to the southeast of Avignon and extends to the Italian border. A popular holiday destination, mostly dry rosé and red wines are made here. With a Mediterranean climate and some favorable soil conditions, both Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence can provide consistency in terms of quality against price, without too much variation from one year to the next.

Several Australian winemakers have now brought their own ideas and experience to this part of French, which is sometimes described as 'where the new world meets the old'. Dynamic and forward thinking, they are shaping the future of these two historic regions. It is interesting to note that well-known French companies looking to expand their interests have also established wineries and contracts with local growers.

Some producers, such as Mas de Daumas Gassac, have successfully made and sold wines under a humble Vin de Pays, while reaching a level of quality and price that one would normally associate with more famous place names. Gradually, the south of French is no longer being seen as the bargain basement of bulk wine!

"The wines of Maury, with flavors of sweet blackberry and a nutty, raisin-like richness, make an excellent partner to chocolate."

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