France: Languedoc Roussillon

Around Béziers

Wines from the Faugères, Saint Chinian and Minervois areas
By Richard James

This Guide was last updated on 11 February 2010
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Main grape varieties


Thrives well on the hills on schist soils. It produces tannic wines with good colour when grown on old vines with low yields.

Results in supple, light wines and is particularly suited for rosé production.

Thrives in dry conditions, but is susceptible to disease. The wines are rich in aromas and texture.

Ripens early and tends to get overripe except at altitude. However, when vinified carefully it gives wines with strong colour and perfume, and good structure.

This late ripener grows best on pebbly slopes where it is less likely to suffer from the effects of drought. It produces wines with good colour, structure and aromas.

Widely used for Vins de Pays, it is most successful in cooler areas picked at perfect ripeness; otherwise the wines can be either too stalky or jammy.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Widely used for Vins de Pays, the best examples show rich cassis fruit and a solid framework.


Grenache Blanc
Used in blends to add supple fruit and body.

This variety is well-suited to poor, dry soils. Often used with Grenache Blanc to contribute much-needed acidity to the blend.

Used as a blending ingredient particularly for white Minervois.

Used in blends, particularly important for white Minervois.

Used occasionally in blends or as a varietal Vin de Pays, it lends honeyed flavours and oily texture.

Used occasionally in blends or as a varietal Vin de Pays, it adds floral honeysuckle notes and zesty mouth-feel.

Used occasionally in blends. Also known as Vermentino.

Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Low yielding delicate variety with lovely grapey, orange flower flavours. The only variety used for Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois Vin Doux Naturel.

Relative newcomer to the Languedoc which is beginning to show great potential in the hands of certain producers. Used mainly in Vin de Pays, either on its own or as part of a blend.

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