The wonderful wine region of Languedoc

At the south east edge of the Med sits the region of Languedoc, a windswept and rugged place peppered with thyme, wild lavender and row upon row if Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grape vines. This is one of the world’s largest wine producing areas with over 30 varieties, several micro-climates and very few restrictions from the government. This relaxed mojo helps to make the wines from Languedoc unlike any other.

The relaxed sensibilities of this region are also one of the key factors in giving the region its reputation for being the land where simple,uncomplicated and not to mention cheap, wines are produced. This is something of an unfortunate reputation that some wine growers in the area are looking to address, in fact, there is a mini revolution currently in progress in Languedoc led by such names as Gerrard Bertrand, whose winery was named by Wine Enthusiast as the European Winery of the Year for 2011, and Didier Barral.

These esteemed producers have been working diligently at giving a bit of polish to the regions ‘cheapo’ image by taking full advantage of Languedoc’s free spirit and versatility. Bertrand has explained that they are lucky in the South of France that there aren’t the traditional restrictions in place that are found in places like Burgundy or Bordeaux, so the wine producers here can write their own stories.

This lack of restrictions and the versatility of the Languedoc landscape allows wine makers to grow a wide range of grape varieties that they can then blend into whichever wines they want according to their own personal style and individual taste. When you consider the staggering variety already available, from fortified dessert wines, through ros├ęs, Sparkling wines, unique blends of reds such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre to Gris Blance and Muscat white, you can understand where they are coming from.