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The Languedoc Roussillon Region of France is an undiscovered gem filled with breathtaking coastline, some of
Winemaking in the Languedoc has improved beyond recognition, with the introduction of temperature control and insulated cellars, as well as the shift from large oak foudres to much smaller barriques, to name a couple of the most obvious changes.
A shift in terroir
There have been similar dramatic changes in the vineyards. Once they were concentrated on the flat coastal plains. These days new vineyards are planted on increasingly inaccessible slopes and at higher altitudes, as winemakers search for cooler sites and less fertile soils. Pic St. Loup is recognized as one of the cooler parts of the
Grape varieties are being reconsidered. Syrah, mourvèdre and grenache noir were seen as cépages améliorateurs and planted extensively to improve flavor. These days, people are reassessing the quality of more traditional carignan and cinsaut, and nurturing their old vines. White wine too has improved beyond recognition, with the introduction of rolle or vermentino, roussanne and marsanne, which made for some intriguing and original blends, as well as chardonnay, chenin blanc and viognier.
Although the appellations rules of the
New winemakers bringing energy
Much of this improvement is driven by the newcomers to the region. The great advantage of the
The appellations themselves are in a state of flux, undergoing quality realignment. Coteaux du Languedoc, the appellation that was created in 1985, with various smaller terroirs stretching from Narbonne almost to Nîmes, is being replaced by Languedoc, which will also cover the vineyards of Roussillon, as the base of a pyramid of quality. Then there are smaller, more defined areas such as La Clape and Pic St. Loup, with even smaller crus such as Roquebrun in St. Chinian and La Livinière in the Minervois.