Languedoc Wines

Photo: Coteaux-Languedoc.com
Photo: Coteaux-Languedoc.com

Have you heard of the Languedoc appellation in France? I bet there were some times you walked into a wine shop and knew you were in the French section of the store, but didn’t know exactly where in France your wine of choice was from. Today, May 27th is #LanguedocDay and for those seeking to learn a little bit about this region and the lovely wines being produced, keep reading!

This region has a typical Mediterranean climate with a variety of soils such as sand, clay, and limestone. The soils and climactic conditions of this region play a major role in the grapes being grown. Several varieties (often of ancient origin), that grow well and add complexity to the wines within Languedoc AOC are:

Red and Rosé: Grenache black, Syrah and Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Black Carignan.

White: Grenache white, Clairette white, Bourboulenc, white Piquepoul, Roussanne, Marsanne, Rolle and Tourbat, alongside the white Carignan, white Terret, Ugni Blanc, Maccabeu, and Viognier.

When it comes to winemaking, traditional vinification (wine making) for red wines is the method used in Languedoc, but some wines also go through carbonic maceration. What is carbonic maceration? It is a winemaking technique, often seen in the region of Beaujolais, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide tank before crushing. Rosés are also produced in this region, and are made by bleeding or direct pressing the grapes with the skins. When it comes to the lovely, mineral driven whites from Languedoc, direct pressing is the method of choice.

Photo: Winerist.com
Photo: Winerist.com

AOC Languedoc red wines are typically vivid in color with aromas and flavors of ripe red fruit, spices and garrigue (Mediterranean earthiness). On the palate, these wines have structure with fine and elegant tannins, rich aromas and a typical “Languedoc roundness”. These wines are suitable for grilled meats and cheeses. The rosés coming out of this region tend to have a deeper pink color with delicate aromas of fresh fruit and a “balanced brightness”; these are perfect picnic and summer aperitif wines. The white wines from Languedoc tend to be more pale straw yellow in color with aromas of white flowers, peaches, almonds, citrus, and pears. On the palate these wines are fresh with balanced acidity and plenty of personality. Pair these crisp bright whites with Mediterranean fish, oysters or anything at the raw bar! 

Need two more reasons to drink Languedoc wines?

  1. Sparkling wine is killing it: Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux are the 2nd most imported French traditional method sparkling wines after Champagne! 
  2. Rosé is trendy, but still a great deal in Languedoc: Languedoc’s rosés offer a Provence style but at more approachable prices!

Want to try some of these wines this weekend? In Washington DC and Seattle, you can taste these wines at your local retailer. For those outside those two U.S. cities, head to your favorite wine shop, buy a bottle from Languedoc, and jump on Twitter tonight to partake in the #LanguedocDay conversation!

Please pair responsibly…

Sara Lehman

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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