The Occitanie wine region – a closer look at the vineyards of South-East France

The wine region of Occitanie offers a very broad-ranging choice of red, white and rosé wines. Located in the South of France, the region basks in a Mediterranean climate, imparting hallmark characteristics to its wines. However, within the region are two sub-regions – South-West and South-East France. Today, we would like to introduce you to the wines produced in the south-eastern part of the Occitanie wine region.

The vineyards of Occitanie – an overview of France’s largest wine region.

Due to the reorganisation of France’s regions in 2014, the former areas of Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon merged to create the Occitanie region. The consequences were not only administrative.

Following the merger, Occitanie became France’s largest wine region, both in terms of area under vine and production. The vineyards of South-West France, which cover an area of 500 km around Toulouse, extend over 37,000 hectares. South-East France, which stretches along the entire Mediterranean coastline from Collioure to Nimes, covers a total area of 226,000 hectares.

Occitanie therefore encompasses two wine regions accounting for a total area under vine of 263,000 hectares, producing 33% of French wines. It is home to 24,000 wine farms and 380 co-operatives.

Winegrowers in Occitanie are also very focused on organic farming – they alone account for 36% of organic vineyards.

Another noteworthy fact is that the Occitanie wine region has 87 AOP appellations and 36 PGI designations. One of the defining features here is that the winegrowers themselves decide whether to produce appellation or PGI wines.

Occitanie: the vineyards of South-East France

In Occitanie, the South-East wine region is located opposite the Mediterranean Sea. It stretches from the Pyrenees-Orientales to the hillsides of the Cevennes. Each vineyard site produces a characterful wine influenced by its specific geographical features.

The region produces not just red wines but also whites and rosés under a variety of appellations.

The wines of Languedoc

In Languedoc, wines in South-East Occitanie cover an extensive, broad-ranging spectrum. Here are some examples:

  • Faugères wines;
  • Corbières Boutenac. This still wine is grown over a dozen villages in Aude;
  • Languedoc Montpeyroux has vines located North-West of Montpellier;
  • Picpoul de Pinet is a white wine that was awarded appellation status in 2013;
  • Grès de Montpellier has been classified as an appellation since 2003;
  • Fitou, whose wines come from the Aude department, is the oldest appellation in the Occitanie wine region;
  • Côtes de Thongue is a PGI situated in around 20 localities in Herault;
  • Cabardès wines are grown near the Montagne Noire;
  • Cité de Carcassonne wines are grown by approximately thirty estates;
  • Terrasses du Larzac wines;
  • Limoux wines are grown South of Carcassonne and one of their defining features is use of the Mauzac grape variety;
  • Pic Saint Loup wines are fruity, spicy reds along with fruity rosés stemming from the fusion of a hot Mediterranean climate with cool Cevennes temperatures;
  • Saint-Chinian wines bask in a Mediterranean climate;
  • La Clape wines;
  • Minervois wines;
  • Corbières wines, grown between the Pyrenees, which bring with them damp weather, and the Montagne Noire, where the weather is fairly dry.

The wines of Roussillon

The vineyards of Roussillon also produce a variety of wines, including:

  • Maury, which epitomises Roussillon dessert wines;
  • Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru are official designations for naturally sweet wines. The red wines are matured in glass demi-johns or casks. The Grand Cru is made from the red Grenache variety and matured for 30 months in oak casks;
  • Muscat de Rivesaltes is produced over an extensive part of Roussillon;
  • Collioure wines grow along the Vermilion coast. They can be red, white or rosé;
  • Côtes du Roussillon Villages are multi-varietal red wines (Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan);
  • Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres. This appellation is found in nineteen localities South-West of Perpignan;
  • Côtes du Roussillon wines.