From the Camargue to the foothills of the Pyrenees, France’s largest and most dynamic wine region unfolds: the Languedoc-Roussillon — now generally referred to more casually as the Languedoc.
The diversity of the landscape, the wide array of grape varieties, the multiple terroirs, the diverse climate and innovative winemaking techniques combine to create an exceptional environment for viticulture.
The white wines are fresh and fruity, sometimes with an exotic flavor… the roses are supple and balanced… and the reds are full flavored with complex notes of red fruit and spice.
The region’s vintners also produce sparkling wines (don’t refer to them as Champagne!) that are light and fruity, and Muscat wines that are floral, fruitful and honeyed.
Away from the bright lights of Cote d’ Azur, the Languedoc has a quiet, rural appeal to wine tourists seeking an authentic experience.
Among the sleepy villages and vineyard-dotted countryside, the dramatic Lastours castle perched high on a mountain and the walled city of Carcassonne provide wonderful days out. The cobbled streets of Carcassonne are busy with gift shops and cafes, workshops and museum pieces.
Montpellier is the regional capital. Chic, modern architecture stands alongside centuries of grand design. There are festivals all year-round, and the Opera House is a treat to visit.
Inland, the town of Nimes offers a similar mix, but on a smaller scale. If you don’t mind heights, the Roman aqueduct and parkland at Pont du Gard are great for exploring.
For dining, seek out the lovely little restaurants at the side of the Canal du Midi, such as the Auberge de l’Arbousier in Homps and Au Chat qui Peche in Argeliers.
And be sure to try the local Languedoc wines offered; they restaurant owners know what matches best with their exceptional cuisine.