Food & Drink

6 wines to taste the Languedoc-Roussillon

This southern French region is a go-to for crowd-pleasing wines, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

The Languedoc-Roussillon is a playground for winemakers
Basket with two bottles of wine in vineyard The Languedoc-Roussillon is a playground for winemakers (philipimage / Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo)

A haven for wine lovers, if the Languedoc-Roussillon isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.

With its thriving wine tourism and vast parcels of vineyards – springtime is a wonderful time to visit with the scent of blossom; and that’s before you’ve even swirled the wine and nosed the aromas.

Indeed, the region’s diverse style of wines can satisfy your expectations in spades.

Cited as a playground for winemakers, it’s France’s largest wine-producing region, stretching along the sunny Med from the Rhône Valley to the Pyrenees, with a plethora of grape varieties to whet your whistle.

Here’s a snapshot of styles for a tasting adventure…

1. Loved & Found Carignan Blanc 2022, France, £8.99, Waitrose

Loved & Found Carignan Blanc 2022, France, Waitrose

Native to the south of France, this rare variety is worth a spring fling for its fruity, fresh floral aromas, gentle tropical notes underpinned by zesty citrus and streak of minerality. Food-friendly and lots of fun.

2.  M Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila Haut 2021, Côtes du Roussilon Blanc, France, £12.70, Noble Grape

M Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila Haut 2021, Cotes du Roussilon Blanc, Noble Grape

A delicious alternative to sauvignon blanc, herbaceous characters are supported by juicy stone fruits, peachy, creamy accents and a rich, rounded, silky palate with limey acidity and great minerality. A wonderful aperitif, and just as impressive as Chapoutier’s northern Rhône whites.

3. Calvet Rosé Cap D’Agde 2022, Côtes De Thau, France, £9, Morrisons

Calvet Rose Cap D’Adge 2022, Côtes De Thau, France, Morrisons

Rosé to rival a Provencal pink, this fragrant bottle overdelivers for its price. Sea breezes shape this crisp, dry rosé that has notes of grapefruit and fresh summer berry fruits, and is packed with vibrant red fruit characters and balanced acidity.

4. Jean-Claude Mas Chateau Capendu ‘La Comelle’ 2021, Corbieres, France, £8.99, Waitrose

Jean-Claude Mas Chateau Capendu ‘La Comelle’ 2021, Corbieres, France, Waitrose

One of the Languedoc’s star producers, Jean-Claude Mas packs a lot of spiced, brambly berries into this super-smooth red. Deftly blended with plenty of jammy blackberry, laced with touches of aromatic garrigue – scrubland that’s characteristic of the region – his wines are a favourite for consistent quality, value and downright enjoyment.

5. Morrisons The Best Cahors Malbec 2020, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, £9.75

Morrisons The Best Cahors Malbec, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, Morrisons

A rustic red from this sunny and rugged stretch of land, blueberry aromas and savoury notes are at the heart of this Cahors malbec. Dark and brooding, it offers concentrated flavours of plums, figs and prunes with savoury nuances and smooth tannins. Delicious and a natural with French country cooking.

6. Domaine La Lirande Syrah 2022, Pays d’Oc IGP, France, £14.99, Laithwaites

Domaine La Lirande Syrah 2022, Pays d’Oc IGP, France, Laithwaites

A standout syrah and right on song, there’s elegance to this floral, spicy, peppery red with pretty aromas of cassis, blackcurrant and violets on the silky smooth palate, and plenty of plush violet-edged fruit, hints of liquorice and warm spice on the finish. In a word: Gorgeous.