A third of all French wines originate from Languedoc-Roussillon. Most of this French wine though falls below the category of Vins de Pays or even Vins de Table. This region produces at least 75 per cent of French Vins de Pays, slightly better than the ordinary table wine but generally not of the standard of a well-made AC wine. There are of course many exceptions. Many of these Vins de Pays are sold under the variety of grape as vins de cepages.
Between Rhone and Languedoc
COSTIERES DE NÎMES
This area lies between the Rhone and LanguedocRoussillon but is not accepted as part of either. You may often encounter Costieres de Nîmes as the oddman-out among the wines of Languedoc. Costieres de Nîmes is produced as white, rose and red wines the Camargue. The area of the appellation has grown enormously in recent decades but it set to grow further (currently 10,000 hectares) . The vineyards of Costieres de Nîmes are in hilly countryside on soils that are full of gravel and boulders.
The white French wine is often made with the latest technology and is fresh, very aromatic (floral notes, exotic fruit, peach) and very pleasing. Drink this French wine at approx. 10°C (50.0°F).
The rose is dry, full-bodied, and very fruity (red fruit and peach). The taste is fresh and rounded with a good balance between acidity and roundness. Drink this French wine at 10- 12°C (50-53.6°F).
The red wine is fruity, full of flavour, and fullbodied. The nose is reminiscent of freshly picked blackberry, red currant, and blackcurrant, with a suggestion of vanilla, wood, and tobacco. Drink this French wine at approx. 14-16°C (57.2- 60.8°F).
Much effort has been devoted in recent decades to achieve a comeback, with the key words being quality and diversity. With its 30,000 hectares of vineyards categorised as AC, Languedoc is the third largest wine region of France. The Languedoc developed in less than 20 years as the newest large wine-growing area of France. The former shortsighted mass production has given way to quality and consistency with a respect for tradition but with the help of the latest technology.
Perfect conditions for a French wine
The success of the comeback is largely due to the work of the wine-growers and the government, who had the courage to start afresh. Mother nature has played her part though. The Languedoc is an extensive region of great variety: wide sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast, countless lakes, the steep hills of the Cevennes, chalk soils, shales, gravel, boulders and a real mosaic of different terroirs and vineyards. The vineyards of Languedoc have been entirely renewed in the past 20 years with an emphasis given to planting vines of the Mediterranean varieties of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
Additionally research was carried out into the restoration and improvement of various native grapes. The grapes of this region are generally vinified individually per variety and blended after fermentation.