Wine production, which was developed back in antiquity, marked the beginning of a new era for the people of the Mediterranean rim. Along with olive oil, the wine trade was one of the basic elements that made it possible for the Greek, Roman and Occitan civilisations to considerably increase their influence over the rest of the civilised world.
The Languedoc region continued to exercise this influence in wine production, becoming the world's biggest wine producer before globalisation started to make its effects felt in the early 1980s.
However, just like the downfall of decadent Rome before it, this wine empire collapsed as a result of overproduction, which led to a noticeable reduction of the quality of wine and a resulting sharp decrease in sales and a slump of unprecedented proportions in the industry.
Wary of their past errors, the region's producers decided several years ago to overcome this problem by getting back to the basics of their profession.
Placing the emphasis once more on respect for the product and its quality, rather than quantity, there is no doubt that the wine of the Languedoc has regained its position of prestige.
The only way visitors to the Aude can properly witness this development is by tasting wine produced by the area's six kinds of grape.
AOC Cabardès: this wine is made using a unique combination of two families of grape varieties, the Atlantic varieties (Merlot, Cabernet, Cot) and Mediterranean varieties (Syrah, Grenache), giving a fine, rounded, full-bodied wine.
AOC Clape-Quatourze: The Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache grapes give red wines a powerful and flavoursome character.
AOC Corbières: thanks to the great wealth of flavours in the wine it produces, Corbières was awarded Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (controlled designation of origin) status in 1995 and covers a third of the region. The impressive headquarters are located at the Château de Boutenac.
AOC Fitou: these were the first wines of the Languedoc to receive AOC status, in 1948. This AOC produces only high quality red wines with the fruity hint of Grenache, and the Fitou designation may only be given to wines that have aged at least 9 months in a cellar.
AOC Malepère: this wine is produced using Grenache and Syrah, along with the very famous Merlot and Cabernet. The resulting combination produces powerful wines with a hint of vanilla and berries.
AOC Minervois: Europe's oldest vineyard.
Many different grape varieties are grown in the region. Be it red, white, or rosé, the wine in this region remains an institution.© Jean-Luc GIROLET / 123RF
Wine fairs are organised throughout the year to discover and taste the regional wines.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
The region is the leader in vineyards. With high export, production, and sales taxes, Languedoc-Roussillon ousts all of its competitors.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
Thanks to a brisk dry wind and low rainfall, the Languedoc-Roussillon region has an ideal climate for grape growing.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
Contests in which the region participates are held regularly. A sample must be sent along with each registration.© GRAPHICOBSESSION