Languedoc-Roussillon is the world's largest wine-producing region.
Burgundy and Bordeaux might be France’s best-known wine regions, but in terms of scale (and, many would argue, bottle for your buck), Languedoc-Roussillon leaves all others in the shade. In total, some 290,000 hectares of vineyards stretch out across the landscape, making this not just France’s largest wine region but the largest single wine area in the world. Amazingly, its vineyards account for a third of all French wine.
Until recently, Languedoc-Roussillon wines had a bargain-basement reputation, with quantity taking precedence over quality; much of the crop went to large co-ops to make cheap blended vins de table, including the ubiquitous Vin de Pays d'Oc. But a new generation of growers has experimented with different grapes and styles and is now producing lots of interesting and unusual wines – from classic rich, robust, fruity reds to a range of whites, rosés and sweet wines, as well as a sparkling wine, crémant de Limoux.
Among the best-known names are Fitou, Corbières, Minervois, Faugères and St-Chinian. Carignan grapes are most common, followed by grenache, syrah and mourvèdre.
You'll find opportunities for cellar visits and dégustation (tasting) all over Languedoc-Roussillon, and there are plenty of companies offering tours.