The wines of the Languedoc cover an area from Nimes in the North to Perpignan in
the south. This map, a part of the Languedoc AOC website, gives a superb overview
of the region. Staying in Au Berg you are surrounded by interesting wine regions.
You are actually in the vins de pays district of the Vins de la Cite de Carcassonne
and it is well worth trying these light and fruity wines.
However, it is the Apellations that surround you that offer such interest and variety.
Starting to the south and going clockwise round Carcassonne, the appellations are:
Limoux, Malepere, Cabardes, Minervois and Corbieres
Limoux is famous for its sparkling wine made in three different styles - Cremant
de Limoux and Blanquette de Limoux are made the same way as Champagne with secondary
fermentation in the bottle while Blanquette de Limoux Methode Ancestrelle is bottled
in March during its slow first fermentation and has less than 7% alcohol. Try it
as an aperitif - something very different. The cooperative in Limoux is called Sieur
d'Arques and has a good visitor centre. Limoux also makes some top quality (and expensive)
Minervois is our favourite wine district in the Languedoc. It has developed over
the last years into a diverse quality wine production region. Top traditional wines
come from the village of La Liviniere but many of the hill villages all the way from
Bize to Laure-Minervois can produce fabulous wine.
Syrah, Mouvedre and Grenache are the well known grape varieties in the region but
much of the character is imparted by Cinsault and Garignan. Many Minervois red wines
are soft and fruity when young but age into something much more interesting.
There are also some interesting whites to be tried, especially those made from the
Marsanne, Macabeu and Rousanne grapes.
We have not tasted enough wines to give any definitive guidance but a couple of growers
to look out for include the wonderful Luc Lapeyre and some fascinating blends from
Hegarty as well as dozens of others.
The most fun (and slowest) way of buying wine is to visit the growers. Almost all
will welcome you and let you taste their wines. Cellar door prices are as low as
you get but there are ways of matching these. Two such places are La Capitainerie
at Homps that concentrates solely on Minervois and is a showcase for the Minervois
growers. It is laid out by region with a huge wall map and the manager is knowledgeable
and personable. The other is La Passion du Vin in Carcassonne. It sells most Languedoc
apellations and a few fine wines from all over France. Address here.