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Posts Tagged ‘Languedoc Roussillon’

The Wines of Languedoc-Roussillon

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Largest Wine Region

Vastness of Languedoc-Roussillon REgion

Vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon Region

The Languedoc-Roussillon wine-growing region is the largest in the world. This vast region west of the Rhône River covers more than 2.4 million acres. Previously considered a cheap wine region, it now holds Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status.  There are 30 sub-appellations that call Languedoc-Roussillon home.

 

 

The most prominent are:

  • Languedoc
  • Muscat
  • Blanquette de Limoux
  • Côtes du Roussillon
  • Corbières
  • Minervois
  • Saint Chinian
  • Faugères

 

First in France

Many people will be surprised to learn that Languedoc was the first wine-growing region of France. Did you know that wine has been produced there for the last 27 centuries? That’s a hell-of-a-long time! It boasts a Mediterranean climate, allowing for a long-growing season. The varied soils range from limestone, granite, rock and schist. This results in a wide range of styles and a diverse mix of grape varieties. Red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified wines are produced throughout.

Steak with Mushrooms and Risotto

Steak with Mushrooms and Risotto

The red wines make great food companions. You can joy them with barbeque, Asian-inspired dishes like beef and broccoli and stews, as well as vegetarian foods like sauteed or grilled mushrooms.

Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, seafood such as anchovies, grilled fish and octopus make natural accompaniments. Also, due to proximity with northern Spain, the Roussillon region is home to many Catalan people, which greatly influences the cuisine.

Great Pairing with a Crab Cake

Great Pairing with a Crab Cake

In recent years, there has been an influx of outside investment to the area, including Brad Pitt. Also, recent technological improvements have helped elevate the quality of wines. Below are some of the better producing regions, along with perfect food and wine pairing ideas:

 

 

 

White Wines
  1. AOC Languedoc-Picpoul de Pinet
  2. AOP Clariette du Languedoc
  3. IGP Pays d’Oc Chardonnay  ( IGP- Identication Géographique Protégée)

Pairings: Various seafood, fresh goat cheese

Red Wines
  1. AOP Côtes du Roussillon
  2. AOP Corbières
  3. IGP Pays d’Oc Syrah

Pairings: Cassoulet of beans and sausage, BBQ

Rosés
  1. AOP Languedoc-Pic St. Loup
  2. IGP Pays c-Oc

Pairings: Spanish tapas, North African and Asian-influenced dishes

Sparkling Wines
  1. AOC Blanquette de Limoux
  2. AOC Crémant de Limoux

Pairings: Cheese courses, soups, dishes using creamy sauces, salads

Puff Pastry with Ice Cream & Chocolate

Puff Pastry with Ice Cream & Chocolate

Fortified Sweet Wines (Vins Doux Naturals)
  1.  AOC Banyuls  & Banyuls Grand Cru
  2. AOC Maury

Pairings: Desserts, cheeses

 

 

 

 

 

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Paradise in Languedoc-Roussillon

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UNESCO Sights in the South of France
South of France Countryside

South of France Countryside

With over 300 days of sunshine, abundant gastronomy choices, rich culture, and some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, the Languedoc-Roussillon region is a must-see destination when visiting France. Frequently overlooked for ljaunts into metropolitan attractions, the south of France has much to offer.  In addition, for wine lovers,little-known yet, high-quality affordable wine can be easily found.

 

The region boasts six UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  1. City of Carcassonn
  2. The Canal du Midi
  3. The Pont du Gard
  4. The Vauban fortresses of Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis
  5. The Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella Pilgrimage Routes
  6. The Causses and Cévennes

Although these names may be difficult to pronounce, it would be more difficult for you to miss out on visiting these extraordinary historical sites.   Do not return home from the south of France without enjoying the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

City of Carcassonn

Carcassonne is medieval walled city built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It provided a perfect backdrop for the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.  With 52 towers and two concentric walls,  it is an impressive fortress.

Your best photographic shots should include the Narbonne Gate, The Lists where the jousts took place and La Vade Tower.

 

The Canal du Midi

UNESCO labeled it, ” one of the modern era’s most extraordinary achievements and a work of art”. The Canal du Midi  is a series of 328 navigator waterways running through France that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Pierre-Paul Riquet is responsible for driving this vision that is comprised of locks, aqueducts, tunnels and bridges, spanning nearly 1,200 miles.  In 1662, at the age of 53 he embarked upon that challenging feat. It became his life work. Unfortunately, Riquet died a year prior to its completion in 1681.  Thomas Jefferson cruised the canal in 1787.

 

Pont du Gard
Pont-Du-Gard

Pont-du-Gard

Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that was used to transport drinking water to the residents of Nîme. This massive engineering structure is 48 ft across and rises more than 900 ft high. After spending an afternoon here, you’ll understand why it is France’s most visited ancient monument.

It is estimated over 50,000 tons of limestone, from the nearby quarry was used in its construction.  No mortar was used. Instead, blocks were expertly cut to join together perfectly using only friction.

The grounds include an exhibition that discusses the Roman civilization, the building of the bridge and aqueduct.  There’s a museum,  botanical garden and quarry.

 

Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis

In 2008, these two Catalon sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list. The Count of Cerdagne founded the medieval town of Villefranche-de-Conflent in 1090. The King of Aragon started a remodel in the 14th century. However, it was Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, a prominent military engineer, who completed the fortress in the 17th century.

The citadel of Mont-Louis is the highest fortress in France. This mid-17th century  fortified town was also created by Vauban.  Surprisingly, many of the ramparts are still in tact.

 

Pilgrimage Routes

The final resting place of The Apostle St. James was discovered around the 813. Visitors enjoy taking this Pilgrimage walking tour  that is dotted with churches and religious landmarks. There are four routes across Europe that lead to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella, located in northern Spain.  Two of these routes cross the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

 

Causses and Cévennes

The agri-pastoral region that has all four types of type of pastoral systems found around the Mediterranean:

  1. Agro-pastoralism
  2. Sedentary pastoralism
  3. Silvi-pastoralism
  4. Transhumance

The aim of the natural park system is to maintain century-old farming activities while addressing the environmental, economic and social issues of today. This cultural tradition, based on distinctive social structures and local breeds of sheep, is reflected in the structure of the landscape, especially the patterns of farms, settlements, fields and water management.

 

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