CLAIRETTE DU LANGUEDOC
The white Clairette grape is one of the oldest varieties and Clairette de Languedoc is one of the oldest and smallest appellations of Languedoc. The vineyards are situated on the hills of the Herault valley, south of Lodeve, approx. 30 km (19 miles) from the sea.
Drinking temperature this French wine: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).
MUSCAT DE MIREVAL
This is a vin doux naturel from Mireval, between Montpellier and Sete. The vineyards are on the southern slopes of the Gardiole mountain which dominates the Vic lake. The ground is chalky with alluvium here and there and also rocks. This French wine is also made using the Muscat Petit Grains. It is a comforting, fruity wine that is almost like a liqueur.
The charm of Muscat de Mireval is in its refined floral and fruity aromas of jasmine, lime blossom, citrus fruit, and raisins. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 6°C (42.8°F).
MUSCAT DE FRONTIGNAN
The Prontignan vineyards are slightly more southerly than those of Mireval, immediately north of Sete. This Muscat wine is stronger than the previous two and is even more like a liqueur. The bouquet is somewhat less aromatic than the other Muscat wines and generally somewhat coarser, though there are exceptions. The nose does contain recognisable notes of citrus fruit, overripe Muscat grapes or even of raisins. The best Muscat de Prontignan wines develop a superb nose of exotic fruit such as passion fruit, and peach, and are very elegant. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 6°C (42.8°F)
The vineyards of Paugeres are slightly to the north of Beziers, situated on a gently rolling ridge of hills of shale. The area is off-the-beaten track, hilly, but both inviting and intimate. A lithe and silken red wine is produced in the small villages that both smells and taste of ripe fruit and liquorice. After several years of maturing the wine tends towards spicier aromas and notes of leather. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 14- 16°C (57 .2-60.8°F) .
Paugeres also produces a little rose which combines the velvet smooth and fruity character of the red wine with a mellow freshness. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 12°C (53.6°F).
Red and rose St Chin ian wines are produced at the foot of the Montagne Noire, north-east of Beziers. There are two different types of St Chinian: a light, playful wine that is lithe and comforting, with much fruitiness and a heavier, more powerful wine with nose of ripe fruit, bay laurel, and flint. The first type is drunk when young, preferable chilled(12-14°C/53.6-57.2°F) while the latter is better left a few years before drinking at 14-16°C (53.6-57.2°F) for a good taste and a good French wine. Drink the St Chinian rose at 12°C (53.6°F).
MUSCAT DE ST-JEAN DE MINERVOIS
The vineyards of St-Jean de Minervois lie amid the maquis and wild Provençal herbs at a height of 200 metres (656 feet) . The soil is a mixture of chalk and shale on a base of red clay. Here too the grape used is exclusively Muscat Petit Grains. A superb, very aromatic French wine is produced in this very small area of 159 hectares. Intense aromas of citrus fruit, fresh Muscat grapes, exotic fruit, and menthol are characteristic of Muscat de St-Jean de Minervois. In spite of its liqueur-like properties, this Muscat is still exceptionally fresh-tasting. Drinking temperature for this French wine 6°C (42.8°F).
The vineyards of Minervois, which are largely arranged on terraces, are situated in a triangle formed by Carcassonne, Narbonne and Beziers. The production is mainly of red French wine but if you search you will also find rose or even the rarer white Minervois. The red wine is fruity, refined, elegant, and well-balanced. There are as many different types of Minervois as there are different terroirs. In the Minervois the wine gives you a free lesson in geology with gneiss, chalk, shale, lignite, and alluvial deposits mixed together in the soil to give the Minervois its own character. Drink this rose French wine (12°C/53.6°F) and the red French wine at 14-16°C (57.2- 60.8°F).
Excellent rose and red French wines are produced from 331 hectares to the north of the fine Medieval town of Carcassonne. Drinking temperature for French wine: 14- 16°C (57.2- 60.8°F) .
This is the most westerly wine-growing area of the Languedoc, located in the triangle formed by Carcassonne, Limoux, and Castelnaudary. Malepere is in the process of achieving Appellation Controlee status. The rose and red French wines from here are fairly light and fruity. Drinking temperature for this French wine: rose 12°C (53 .6°F) , red 14- 16°C (57 .2- 60.8°F) .