The Languedoc is the largest connected wine area of the world. Some figures:
Vineyards in hectare: 290.000
Production: 15 million hectolitres (30% of the wine production in France)
Amount of winegrowers: more than 27.000
Amount of appallations: 40 like Corbières, Minervois etc.
The unique aspect of the Languedoc is called the Terroir. Terroir is the combined action between the ground, the (micro)climate, the winegrower and of course, the grapes. The climate is the key factor on the whole. Because there are a lot of differences in heights in the Languedoc, there are various types of climates. Against the hills of the Montagen Noire at the northside of the Languedoc, the fog often hangs low and it can be very moist, while the in the valley of the Aude it is often dry, and against the hills the is usually a combination of these two microclimates. The Mediterranean Sea also has a lot of influence on the climate, the sea plays a dominant factor further inland up to 50 kilometres.
The undergrounds exist of parts of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees, these soils often consist of clay and slate and also hard granite. This soil is ideal for vineyards, though it does need the right type of grapes to have the best quality. In the Languedoc you will find many of the grapetypes Carignan and Grenache. These types can last for many years. In many vineyards you will spot rough, coarse and thick vines and are usually as old as 80 years. These vines will produce very concentrated types of grapes. The produce is quite low, but the quality is superb.
Old Carignan and Grenache grapes can ripen very well and give wines that dark, purple color and an intense taste of ripened red fruits and a subtle hint of spices. Because it can get very hot in the Languedoc during the summer, it is a good thing that these types of grapes can bear these high temperatures. The hotter the weather, the more effort it takes for the vines to find water in the soil. This results in excellent quality grapes.