Wine Regions

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Wine Regions

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The wine region Alsace is located in the northeastern part of France, touching the German border. The German influences are very noticeable, both on an architectural and culinary level. There is a lot of overlap in terms of planted grape varieties and the use of the long-necked bottle we see in Germany as well.
The Alsace is located between the eastern part of the Vosges mountain range and the river of the Rhine. This ensures a continental climate with sunny warm summers, perfect to grow grapes.











The most uses grape varieties are white, with Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Gewurztraminer being considered as the noble grapes. These are the only ones eligible to produce Grand Cru wines. Apart from those we see that the grapes Sylvaner, Auxerrois Blanc, Chardonnay and Chasselas are allowed as well. However, Chasselas cannot be newly planted anymore, which means that this grape will be eliminated from the appellation in a few decades.
Only one red grape is allowed, the Pinot Noir.

The two subregions in the Alsace are the Bas-Rhin in the north and the Haut-Rhin in the south. Rhin referring to the river Rhine. Usually, the better-quality wines are coming from the Haut-Rhin.

The wines are mostly made from only one grape variety, they are all monocepages. Alsace is the only region in France where it is allowed to mention the name of the grape on the bottle, under the appellation.
The soil differs a lot from one kilometre to the other, but will usually contain limestone, slate, sand, and clay.

For the appellation the Alsace wines will refer to the grape variety and not to the village of origin, like in the rest of France. Only the Grand Cru will have an extra referral.
The AOP Alsace is the base appellation for all the wines from the region. Every wine made from a different grape, other than the noble ones, will fall under this category.

The AOP Alsace Grand Cru however is made from either Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris or Muscat. The village of origin will be mentioned as well.

AOP Cremant d’Alsace is the appellation for the sparkling wines made in Alsace. It follows the Methode Traditionelle (like in Champagne) with a minimum aging of 9 months on the lees. All the grapes allowed under the base appellation are allowed for the Cremant. We used to see a lot of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris for sparkling, but lately a lot of Chardonnay is used, sometimes only Chardonnay. This is still very different than the Blanc de Blancs coming from Champagne, with more spicy notes to it.
For the Rose Cremant Pinot Noir will be used.

The pleasant Indian Summer in the area, clears the way to produce high-quality sweet wines, with two protected categories. The Vendage Tardive refers to late harvest. When applying this the grape will produce more sugar than acidity and leave residual sugar in the wine. The grapes for this have to be the same ones as for the Grand Cru.
Apart from that we also have the category of Selection de Grains Nobles, which are grapes affected by the noble rot. These sugar levels will be much higher than Vendage Tardive. Also, only the Grand Cru grapes are allowed.

When travelling in the Alsace, make sure to eat the local famous dishes, such as Munster cheese, Flammekuchen and Choucroute. These dishes will pair very well with the local wines, thinking of an herbaceous Gewurztraminer with the Munster, Selection de Griains Noble with the Flammekuchen and an expressive Riesling with the Sauerkraut.

Alsace is a beautiful area that has said to be the inspiration of many fairytale stories, such as Beauty and the Beast. Cozy German like villages known for the production of expressive white wines!



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Languedoc – Rousillon 

The largest wine growing area in France and even in the world, yet it still must battle with the image of being a bulk producing wine region in certain countries. A reputation that is outdated and simply unjustified. There is a lot to discover in terms of appellations, different terroir and vintages! To really understand the region as a whole, for this article we will split the larger regions of the Languedoc with the Roussillon.  Even though the two regions are always said in one breath, there is a remarkable difference between the two. Not only in the use of different grape varieties, but also in the difference of terroir, microclimates and vinification techniques.  Are you ready to understand the Languedoc-Roussillon for the beautiful wine regions that they are?

As stated, before Languedoc together with the Roussillon is a very large region. It starts in the very south of the Rhone valley, around the city of Nimes and stretches all the way down to the mountain range of the Pyrenees. They are some mountain ranges in the west that ensure a natural border for the region, including the Cevennes. Because of this the climate can vary a lot from AOP to AOP. Some wines will be hugely influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, others will be impacted more by the climate coming from the mountain range. Apart from that there are several winds determining different microclimates and bringing a big influence over from the Atlantic as well.
Luckily for all the participants the trip was organized in such a way that we really had the opportunity to get to know each appellation and IGP in depth.

Common Grapes of Languedoc Roussillon: Atlantic versus Mediterranean

This region is mostly known for its large amount of IGP wines that speak to a larger audience. However, for the purpose of this trip the main focus lay on the many different appellations of the area. We will notice that main grapes being used are the so called ‘Mediterranean’ grapes. For some IGP’s and some particular AOP’s the Atlantic influences brings on ‘Atlantic’ grapes as well.

Mediterranean grapes are the varieties found around Spanish Catalonia, up towards the Languedoc area and around the Rhone Valley. Red varieties include Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan. The most famous white varieties include Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne and Vermentino (or Rolle).
Syrah was practically born in the South-eastern part of France, with parents as Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. It is a grape with a thick skin and a fair number of tannins.
The Grenache grape originated from Spain, where it is called the Garnacha grape. There is a thin skin, which leads to a paler colour. The grape is known for its fruity expression.
Carignan is also originated from Spain and is named after the village of Carinena. Locally it goes by the name of Mazuelo or Samso. This variety is mainly known for its punch in terms of acidity and tannins.
From Catalonia comes the grape of Mourvèdre, or there known as Monastrell or Mataro. Mourvedre is known for its high quality of tannins that really come to expression when the grape grows in a hot climate, with plenty of water. When the wine ages it develops beautiful complex and aromatic characters. Cinsault as a grape has very little tannins, but a medium acidity. Therefore, it is the perfect grape for blending or the production of rose wines. The grape is a typical Mediterranean variety.
Grenache Blanc comes from the same region in Spain as the Grenache Noir. Locally referred to as Garnacha Blanca and will display white flowers with a low acidity in its wines. The origin of Marsanne and Roussanne is somewhat unclear but are planted in main French Mediterranean regions like the Languedoc, Rhone, and Provence. Usually used for a blend and known for their aromatic character.
Vermentino originated from the island of Sardinia and found its way up to France through Corsica. It displays green notes, along with almonds and flowers.

The Atlantic Grape varieties are known as the Bordeaux varieties like the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a firm grape that has a lot of tannins and usually gets aged on oak barrels. It is a beautiful grape made for aging. It has Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc as parents and is originated from the Medoc in Bordeaux.
The Cabernet Franc is the milder parent of the Cabernet Sauvignon, it ripens earlier and can grow really well in colder areas. Most likely it is the original Cabernet variety and it originated from Bordeaux and later brought to the Loire valley.
The other well-known grape variety of the Atlantic is the Merlot, named after the French word for Blackbird, Merle. The grape likes a bit cooler climate than the Cabernet Sauvignon does and is a bit smoother in texture and taste. Most likely originated from the Bordeaux area where it gives beautiful results in Saint- Emilion.
Coming from Cahors we get the grape of Malbec, very well known for its aromas of black plums and figs.
Petit Verdot comes from the Bordeaux area as well. However, it has almost been extinct. In flavour and character, it is much alike the Syrah, with its power and spiciness.

Appellation system of Languedoc-Roussillon

In order to fully understand the appellation system in this region, we need to split it up between the larger region of the Languedoc and the smaller region of the Roussillon. However, we do see the same levels of quality and origin arising:

  • IGP d’Oc: the main base level for all wines coming from this area
  • Regional appellations
  • Languedoc
  • Languedoc – with village name
  • Cotes du Roussillon
  • Cotes du Roussillon Villages
  • Cotes du Roussillon Villages- with village name
  • Sub-regional appellations
  • Village designated appellations




AOP’s of Languedoc:

The regional appellations get split up into the most regional as in AOP Languedoc and then into the appellations with AOP Languedoc or Coteaux du Languedoc followed by the name of the village.

  • Languedoc Carbieres
  • Languedoc Gres de Montpellier
  • Languedoc La Mejanelle
  • Languedoc Montpeyroux
  • Languedoc Pezanes
  • Languedoc Quatorze
  • Languedoc Saint-Georges d’Orques
  • Languedoc Sommieres
  • Languedoc Saint Saturnin


From here on different sub-regional appellations are distinct. These areas are defined by specific weather conditions, resulting in different micro-climates. On top of that, specific types of soil and geographical patterns sets them apart from regional appellations as well. Important to know is that these regions exist alongside the regional appellations and get distinguished by their own unique characteristics.

  • Clairette du Languedoc
  • Picpoul de Pinet
  • Cabardes
  • Terrasses du Larzac
  • Limoux
  • Saint-Chinian
  • Malepere
  • COrbieres
  • Minervois


More specific appellations emerge as well, with village designated AOP’s. These revolve around a certain point and do not contain more than ten villages surrounding it.

  • Fougeres
  • Minervois la Liveniere
  • Fitou
  • Corbieres Boutenac
  • La Clape


In order to fully understand the appellations with their characteristics, and the region as a whole, a daily tasting was organized for us to discover a number of AOP’s at the time. Each time with an in-depth masterclass on one of them.
for me it was important, to really get a full understanding, to taste different vintages so that clear evolution can be tasted.


AOP Languedoc

Starting with the most general appellation of the Languedoc, we see that this regional appellation really covers the entire region of the Languedoc, with the sub-regional and village-designated scattered around and in it. Apart from this large geographical coverage, the AOP also covers a multiple range of styles such as rose, white and red. Starting with the whites we find that already with the latest vintage of 22 a ripe nose gets presented along with mineralities like flint, with a creamy mouthfeel and a crisp acidity to finish off. As the wine even gets older with one year, the colour will get noticeably darker, with an expression of exotic fruit and mineralities. The acidity gets toned down a little bit, however, remains very present. The white blend will mainly consist of Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Rolle. However, other varieties are allowed as well.

Medium bodied roses with the expression of rose water and wild strawberries ensures a rather ripe nose, followed by a full and creamy mouthfeel and a fresh acidic level. Older vintages display a medium salmon-pink colour with a touch of ripe peach in the nose, and a lovely interaction between minerals, spiciness, and a creamy texture.

The blend used for the roses will be the same as for the reds, consisting of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, along with Carignan and Cinsault. The younger vintages especially will display a very fruity nose, with juicy red fruit on the palate. Slightly spicy, with only a touch of oak. The number of tannins remains rather low, while the level of acidity stays on the medium side. As the wine gets older, the oak becomes more intergraded, and the fruit and spices become rather subtle. Leading to a very balanced result, that remains softly on the palate.

AOP’s around Montpellier

A lot of smaller appellations surrounding the city of Montpellier are covered with the regional AOP Languedoc-Village. These are allowed to have the village or sub-regional name mentioned. Using the same grapes allowed for the regional appellation.
Starting with the rather small AOP Languedoc Carbières the red wines will have a strong number of tannins and rather subtle fruit, even if the wine is a couple of years old, suggesting it needs to age further to be fully enjoyed. The rose is ready to drink now, with its light body and fresh mouthfeel.

AOP Languedoc Cres de Montpellier provides us with bold reds that need to age for a few years, as the tannins in the younger vintages will be very green. As the years go by, these will soften and give way to a perfect balance of minerals, red fruit, and spiciness.
The reds from AOP Languedoc Pezenas also has a strong number of tannins, that remains over the years, but become more accessible. AOP Languedoc Saint Saturnin follows the same trend as its neighbours, but coming with juicy fruit in younger vintages that helps balance out the tannins.
AOP Languedoc Saint Georges d’Orques has reds that are more accessible from a young age with ripe red fruit and soft tannins, that will only find more balance as they grow older. Also, the AOP Languedoc Sommières shows reds that are accessible from a young age with overripe red fruit and aging notes.

AOP Clairette du Languedoc is a sub-regional appellation, made from the white grape Clairette displays a very fresh palate with notes of white flowers and fresh exotic fruit characters like lychee.

The other sub-regional appellation from this area is the AOP Pic Saint Loup, known for its bold and firm reds and rose. The roses display a rather dark colour with a spicy nose and mineralities. These are roses with power, with pickled orange peels on the palate, full mouthfeel and a crisp finish. Not only meant for pre-dinner drink but has much gastronomical possibilities as well.
The reds display the same boldness with a focus on dark fruit and minerals, however nice and subtle, even in younger vintages. The oak characters will come more to the front as the years go by, intergrading perfectly with the now more subtle dark fruit characters. The area is known for its land of legends and often the vineyards will be enclosed by garrigues. Garrigues are wild herbs growing in bushes surrounding vineyards. These herbs can consist of rosemary or thyme and gives the wines a new dimension of spiciness and herbs, which is very common in Saint Loup. The region is the wettest of Languedoc with a very continental climate.

AOP’S around Béziers

Both white and red wines can be found under the AOP La Clape. Red La Clape consists of aromas like red plums, profound black cherries with a lively acidity in younger years. Older reds push the lively fruit to the background and makes way for ripe notes of rhubarb. Mainly Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
White La Clape has very round and creamy mouthfeel and notes of yellow apple, white pear, and melon. However, these notes do get riper and more confit as the wine ages. This thanks to the high amount of Bourboulenc in the blend. Bourboulenc is a surprising well-aging grape.

The AOP Minervois La Livenière is a more specific appellation of AOP Minervois in the area surrounding the city of Beziers and covers a range of outstanding red blends from mainly Syrah, accompanied by Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan. Younger vintages start with firm tannins and dark fruit characters, with some level of immaturity found in the mouthfeel. The acidity is medium to high.
Looking at older vintages the level of spiciness increases, along with the darkness of the fruit. The acidity level decreases, as well does the level of tannins, they become much softer and ripe as the wine ages. Despite the minimal use of oak, the wines are made to age for 5 to 10 years. The wines need to be approved by a panel and cannot be released until at least 18 months after harvest. In Minervois a conservatory was established for over 50 grapes for research purposes.

The appellation with the sea as its terroir refers to AOP Picpoul de Pinet, a little north of the Beziers. Picpoul de Pinet is of course made with the like-named grape Picpoul, that shows flowery notes, a touch of saline and delicate fruit aromas. The grape is a real native to the Languedoc area and loves the influences of the Mediterranean. Overall, the mouthfeel is crips and round. Older vintages will show more of the salinity and minerality, while the fruit is pushed to the background. However, subtle, elegant notes of citrus fruits keep on getting displayed.

The whites from AOP Faugères coming from Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Rolle create a slightly exotic and flowery bouquet with a medium acidity and yet a fuller mouthfeel. Exotic fruit characters remain but ripen and in some of the older vintages subtle touches of oak can be found. The roses also display a creamy mouthfeel, along with aromas of rosewater and fresh strawberries. They stay delicate yet have a bit more body than your typical Provence rose.
The GSM blend with Carignan and Cinsault are very closed off on the nose in younger years, yet subtle notes of red berries and smoked spices can be found. Tannins are rather soft and stay in that same fashion as the wine ages. However, the nose does get more expressive when vintages get older with riper fruit and more intensity in spices. Tannins become more present in the aftertaste and the wine retains its wonderful balance throughout time.

The sub-regional appellation of AOP Terrasses du Larzac, west of Montpellier, brings us reds that show complexity from a very young age. Spiciness and smokiness play an elegant game with red fruit characters as strawberries and raspberries. The soft touch of oak brings the whole in balance. The aftertaste is medium to lang, yet with beautiful complexity.

AOP Saint Chinian is an appellation mainly used for red wines, however the whites and the roses are worth exploring as well! The whites display a beautiful balance of flowers, minerality, ripe white fruit and a round, yet crisp mouthfeel. The blend usually consists of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussannne and Rolle. The roses are rather light in body and colour, resulting in a real Provence style.
We see a wonderful Mediterranean blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Lladoner Pelut. In the younger vintages the tannins are rather unripe, which already discloses that these blends are made to age. Red fruit with tannins and oak, each struggling to get the upper hand. It is not until a few years of age that every aspect gets more integrated in one and other, leading of course to beautiful results. The wine becomes more elegant, yet the number of tannins stay firm. Going back as far as 8 years, the wine still tells you it needs a bit more time in order to display its full potential.
Within this appellation we find the incorporations of AOP Saint Chinian Roqueburn and AOP Saint Chinian Berlou located in the north of the original appellation and displaying more in-depth versions of the Saint Chinian, with a longer aging potential.


AOP’S around Narbonne

AOP Corbières is found next to the city of Narbonne and the reds present itself in a very fruity, herbaceous way, along with a low level of pleasant tannins. As the vintages get older, the wines display more intensity of dark fruit and riper notes of herbs and spices, leaving behind the freshness of red fruit characters. Any use of oak has been kept to a minimum. For the grape varieties we see a lot of Carignan being used, along with Syrah, Grenache and Lledoner Pelut.
The AOP does not only cover red wines, but also some amazing white and roses. The whites display notes of white flowers, unripe exotic fruit, melon, and minerals. Older vintages give us more marzipan and toasted almonds. The most important varieties here are Bourbelenc, Macabeu and Grenache Blanc.
For the roses, we get a light Provence style, full of aromas with pink grapefruit, rose pedals and tangerine. Long lasting finish.

Within Corbières we find a much more specified appellation called the AOP Corbières Boutenac, which only goes for red wines. The blend must consist of at least 30% of Carignan, complemented by Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah (no more than 30%). The wine has to age on oak for a minimum of amount of 15 months, followed by an aging period in the bottle for at least 3 months. This leads to younger vintages with a lot of green tannins and almost an overflow of fresh red fruit. As time proceeds the red fruit will ripen, giving way to more spiciness and riper tannins. Beautiful wine to age, with a high level of complexity in the nose, and that in every vintage.

In the very southern part of the Languedoc region, we can find the AOP Fitou, only for red wines. The blend requires a minimum of 15% Syrah and a maximum of 75% Carignan. Along with the other known players, we also welcome Lledoner Pelut and Terret Noir to the blend. Two red Mediterranean varieties that bring fruit and aroma to the mix. Fitou wines have along aftertaste overall and a complexity that increases as the wine ages.

AOP’s around Carcasonne

Just east of the city of Carcasonne, almost up until the foothills of the mountain ranges, the wild west of France, the AOP Cabardes has colourful roses with light fruit notes, and a not very complex palate. The red wines however do bring a lot of complexity and finesse to the table. This AOP brings us a stunning combination of the Atlantic grapes and the Mediterranean ones. We experience the, by now well-known, blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre with the almost Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Fer Servadou. The Atlantic grapes make up for a minimum of 60% of the whole, while the Mediterranean grapes cannot exceed a maximum of 40%. Making the Atlantic grapes the most predominant in the entire blend, and that shows in the wines as well. From what I tasted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were the ones that mostly stepped forward. Especially in younger vintages where the Cabernet gives us sharp, fresh edges with astringent tannins, however never unpleasant. A few vintages later Merlot fruit finds balance with the fruit of the Grenache, the spices of Syrah and the freshness of both Cabernet grapes. Tannins stay greenish for some time and need more years to ripen, however they are never unpleasant in any vintage. The complexity in the wines from old to younger stays remarkable.

Just south of the city of Carcasonne we find one of the oldest appellations of the region, that of AOP Limoux. This appellation not only applies to red and white wines but is mainly known for its wonderful sparkling wines that enjoy their own appellation. We divide AOP Cremant de Limoux, AOP Limoux Methode Ancestrale and AOP Limoux Blanquette de Limoux. The Cremant follows the Methode Traditionelle with a minimum aging in the bottle of 12 months. This sparkling is mainly made with the Mauzac grape, along with Chenin blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It will display beautiful yeast characters with fresh green apple and a fine mousse. Minerality will play a big part in some vintages as well, but never losing its elegant mousse and long aftertaste.
The Blanquette is made through the same method, however only spending a minimum of 9 months on the lees and having 90% of Mauzac in the blend turns to a much fruitier and crisper sparkling.
The AOP Limoux Methode Ancestrale refers to the ancient method of sparkling wine making. The wine has not fully completed its yeasting process before bottling. The second fermentation ensures a really concentrated palate and nose of glazed limes and overripe apricots. Because of the residual sugar we find a sweet note to it, and a soft light mousse.

Limoux Blanc will display minerality and ripe white fruit in younger vintages, only to become riper and exotic, but always with a lasting crisp acidity when the wine ages. The young Limoux Rouge gives us a red fruity expression with a rather high acidity and green, yet pleasant tannins. The older vintages become more elegant with an herbaceous character, smoked fruit and riper more balanced tannins and acidity.

North of the appellation of Limoux, we find AOP Malepere bringing Roses that are very fruity and with an open nose. Their slightly rounder body suggest gastronomical possibilities, but I would just have it as an aperitive drink.
The reds are very fruit driven with ripened tannins, even in the young vintages. As the age goes up, so does the smokiness, the ripeness of both tannins and red fruit resulting in a perfect balance. Even though the tannins always feel ripe, the keep you coming back for more and secretly telling you that the wines can still age for a few more years. In the blend we find both Atlantic and Mediterranean grapes such as Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, with Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault.


AOP’s of Roussillon:

Entering the region of the Roussillon, the city of Perpignan in particular, you feel a shift in atmosphere. From the south of France, you feel like you are entering the gateway to Spain. We have now reached the region of French Catalonia. Having influences of both France and Spain, the region has however developed its own identity. The Pyrenees in the south, the Mediterranean to the east, rivers floating in from other mountain ranges from the west, these meteorological conditions create a different style of wines, with a focus on Vin Doux Naturels.
The appellation system follows a similar sequence to that of the Roussillon:

  • IGP Pyrenees-Orientales
  • Regional Cotes du Roussillon
  • Regional Cotes du Roussillon Villages
  • Cotes du Roussillon Villages- with village names:
  • Caramanay
  • Lesquerde
  • Latour de France
  • Tautavel
  • Les Aspres
  • AOP Coullioure
  • AOP Vin Doux Naturels:
  • Maury
  • Banyuls
  • Banyuls Grand Cru
  • Rivesaltes
  • Muscat de Rivesaltes


The only IGP we are tasting on this trip is the IGP Cotes Catalanes. This Indication Geographique Protegee is a protected geographical designation for a broader area than the AOP. Less strict rules will apply here. Wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon can be produced under the label of IGP d’Oc for both regions. In the Roussillon the more specific name IGP Pyrenees-Orientale can be used. IGP Cotes Catalanes covers the same area and wines from this region can use both names on their label.
Whites being produces under this label come with the grapes of Macabeu, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Viognier or even Carignan Gris. Either in blend or as monocepage. That said a variety of styles will present itself, but always with the same red thread of white flowers and light exotic fruit.

The red wines will be fruit driven as well, along with an easy-to-drink factor. However, depth does show, when exploring the wines deeper. Aging potential occurs with a beautiful balance remaining and a crisp spiciness in the aftertaste. Mediterranean grapes such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan are used here. Looking at the rose wines you can notice that these are fuller bodied with juicy red fruit and gastronomical employability.

The regional appellation of AOP Cotes du Roussillon has whites of the blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Roussanne and follow a beautiful evolution in complexity as the wine grows older. Flower notes and white fruit with crispiness will turn into wines with a creamy texture and further ripening fruit going to ripe melon and candied apple. Older vintages display a dimension of burned nuts as well. But even with all this ripeness the crisp acidity does remain to keep the balance.
The red ones consist of the well-known Mediterranean blend, but this time with Grenache taking the lead, resulting in a different type of fruit characters. As the wine is still young, the fruit will dominate, but stays subtle at the same time. Tannins remain soft and a refine acidity lingers in the aftertaste.
The roses have notes of pear, apricot and are very dark in colour, with a fresh acidity.

Going deeper to the AOP Cotes du Roussillon Villages the focus on red fruit remains the same as Grenache is represented beautifully here. A lot of raspberries with a touch of smokiness.  As the wine gets older, the complexity increases leaving an elegant interaction of ripe fruit, spices, and oak aging.

Starting the appellations that can carry out the name of the specific villages with AOP Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerdes with a large raspberry fruit domination and soft tannins. The AOP Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France does give us the same raspberry notes, only this time complimented with earthy aromas. The AOP’s Cote du Rousillon Villages Caramany and Tautavel display a nice balance between ripe red fruit, an elegant spiciness, and refined notes of minerals. Especially the Tautavel gives us ones that can age for a few years as well, in seven years the wine does not loose its fruit dimension, even though it gets more subtle.
AOP Cotes du Roussillon Villages les Aspres has beautiful aging potential for its reds with notes of rhubarb, as you would find in the Languedoc as well. Elegancy occurs at a very young age and develops perfectly over time.
All the village appellations use the same Mediterranean blend as the Cotes du Roussillon.

The appellations of Vin Doux Naturels is of course one of the biggest reasons this region is famous of. AOP Muscat de Rivesaltes allows the two muscat grapes of Muscat a Petits Grains and Muscat d’Alexandrie. A natural sweet wine, that can age beautifully. The young ones start off rather shy, with a closed nose, but easily distinctive muscat scent. Over time the yellow raisons will develop in the nose, along with honey and burnt nuts. The mouth feel will give us spicy notes of ginger on top of the honey. The acidity ensures the balance.

AOP Banyuls has the perfect amber colour with caramel notes. For the white blend Grenache Blanc, Macabeu, Malvoisie du Roussillon and the two Muscat grapes get used. This is definitely a wine to age, as the tasted 2019 is still very closed off and needs to develop further. For the red blend we see Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault being used. The younger wines are not that interesting just yet, but as they get older the complexity rises. For the red Grand Cru no Grenache Gris is used and is aged to be a very complex wine with dried caramel notes.

AOP Rivesaltes Ambre comes from the blend of white varieties as Grenache Blanc, Macabeu, Tourbat, Grenache Gris, Listan and Malvoisie du Roussillon. Like the name says a beautiful amber colour with a firm complexity of roasted nuts and a very oxidated nose. This wine will do wonders with strong cheeses!

AOP Maury Grenat can be either white or red. The red blend will consist mainly of Grenache Noir, leaving a very fruit driven, yet creamy red with a touch of spice. The first year these wines will be aged in bonbonnes, which are large glass bottles, to be oxidized in full sunshine. Later the wines will age further in large oak barrels.

The entire region of Languedoc-Roussillon comes across as an untouched diamond with a high number of appellations that has so much to offer in terms of quality and gastronomical possibilities. Yet the region is still battling the high production reputation it has. However, several overseas investors do see the potential of this perfect climate region. My guess is that a wonderful future lies ahead for the Languedoc-Roussillon!


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