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Languedoc-Roussillon

A vast area in the south of France between the Rhône and the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Languedoc-Roussillon produces 40 per cent of the nation's wine and has recently undergone a vinicultural revolution. 

Until 20 years ago the majority of wines from this region were of a poor standard and produced in vast quantities destined for the European...

A vast area in the south of France between the Rhône and the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Languedoc-Roussillon produces 40 per cent of the nation's wine and has recently undergone a vinicultural revolution. 

Until 20 years ago the majority of wines from this region were of a poor standard and produced in vast quantities destined for the European...

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wine lake but since the 1980s there has been a change of ethos and remarkable results.  The Languedoc-Roussillon has become a region of exciting variety and escalating quality, and though the areas of Corbières and Minervois have been at the forefront of this improvement they are by no means the only wines worth seeking out.

Styles of Wine

The Languedoc-Roussillon is as varied in its styles as could be.  White, sparkling, rosé and 90 per cent of France's dessert wines, known as vins doux naturel, come from the region, but it is for its reds that it is largely significant.  The wines of Corbières and Minervois are the most famous, though other AOCs are improving all the time and the region's vin de pays, usually labelled as Vin de Pays d'Oc, can be excellent for both quality and value.

Key Vines

The region once had a great variety of vines, but disease and declining markets have sounded the death knell for many.  Cinsault, Grenache and Carignan are the three great survivors that produce much of the red wine of the Languedoc-Roussillon.  Traditional white vines include Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Bourboulenc and Muscat.

In the last 20 years there has been a great deal of planting of international varieties.  Syrah and Mourvèdre are permitted in several AOC wines, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are not and will be classed as Vin de Pays d'Oc with the name of the grape on the label.  These represent some of the finest wines on offer in the region.

Climate and Terroir

It is a very large region but the climate is generally a Mediterranean one.  Its winters are mild and sufficiently wet, the summers are warm and dry and it is reliable enough to not carry the risk of a disastrous vintage.  The soil, however, is varied and allows for individuality in the grapes that are grown.

Prior to the '80s the trend had been to plant vineyards on the plains, where the conditions for the grape grower were easiest.  Sadly, conditions for the drinker were less than ideal as this approach led to weak and insipid wines.  In recent years, with the improvement of ambition and knowledge, vines have been planted in the poor soil of slopes where little else will grow and these harder-working grapes have produced far more rewarding results.

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  1. Bellefontaine Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d' Oc

    Bellefontaine Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d' Oc, 2015 75cl

    Fresh and aromatic green fruits on the nose with a splash of grapefruit and other rich citrus flavours lingering in the mouth.

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    £7.31
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    £7.85
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    £6.09
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    £6.54
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  2. Bellefontaine Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc

    Bellefontaine Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2014 75cl

    Made from selected grapes, grown by quality producers. A fine example of southern French Chardonnay. The full bodied, buttery nose is perfectly balanced by tangy citrus flavours.

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  3. Blackcherry Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc,

    Black Cherry Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2015 75cl

    Gooseberry fruit and fresh lemon flavours combine to give a fresh finish.

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    £6.60
    £5.50
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  4. La Vedette Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2016

    La Vedette Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2016 75cl

    This is a fresh and fruit dry white from the South of France.  Pale straw in colour with a zesty appley flavours intermingled with soft tropical fruits. A well made and well balanced wine.

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    £7.19
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  5. 100 Series Chardonnay, 2014

    100 Series Chardonnay, South of France, 2014 75cl

    A well rounded and lively wine with subtle notes of citrus, pear, and lime. 

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    £10.00
    £8.33
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  6. Picpoul de Pinet Racine, Bruno Lafon, Coteaux du Languedoc

    Picpoul de Pinet Racine, Bruno Lafon, Coteaux du Languedoc, 2016 75cl

    Floral and enticing on the nose, exuberantly fresh on the palate with pear drop fruit, a slightly salty edge and underlying minerality. This is an incredibly fruity and concentrated Picpoul - yet still fine and elegant, with a very long finish

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    £11.30
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    £9.42
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  7. Bellefontaine Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc

    Bellefontaine Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2015 75cl

    Deeply coloured, medium body in style. An easy-drinking wine from the south of France.

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  8. Black Cherry Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc

    Black Cherry Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2015 75cl

    A medium bodied red with plum driven flavour. Easy drinking red.

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    £6.60
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  9. Domaine Grier Grenache Noir, Cotes Catalanes

    Domaine Grier Grenache Noir, Cotes Catalanes, 2012 75cl

    Redcurrent and cherry flavours dominate the mouth with underlying, subtle spice.

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    £11.46
    £9.55
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  10. La Vedette Malbec, Vins de Pays d'Oc

    La Vedette Malbec, Vins de Pays d'Oc, 2016 75cl

    A nose of ripe black plums and rich redcurrant lead into a palate which is soft and smooth with a subtle suggestion of cassis and wood smoke. 

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  11. Le Fou Pinot Noir, Pays de l'Aude

    Le Fou Pinot Noir, Pays de l'Aude 2015 75cl

    It is rare to find good Pinot Noir at this price. Sourced from fruit from the Aude Valley in the Southern end of the Languedoc this delicious wine has a wonderful silky texture with fresh red berry fruits. A great Pinot Noir that is very easy drinking.

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    £8.76
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    £8.21
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  12. Racine Minervois Bruno Lafon, Languedoc

    Racine Minervois Bruno Lafon, Languedoc, 2015 75cl

    The nose is a well-balanced combination of red and dark berries with a touch of vanilla. In the mouth this southern French red is medium bodied with a subtle touch of spice that becomes more prevalent on the finish.

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    £9.24
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    £10.60
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    £7.70
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    £8.83
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