The Languedoc is a large region spreading over three main departments: Aude, Herauld, Gard. The main AOC in Languedoc are Fitou, Minervois, Corbieres, Coteaux du Languedoc, Limoux, Faugeres, Picpoul-de-Pinet.
Argelliers and Murles stand at around 200 metres above sea level some 20 kilometres northwest of Montpellier. They feature some of the coolest vineyards in the region, which helps in keeping the vines fresh and with high acidity. The soils are of well-drained Jurassic Comblanchian Limestone, with alluvial soils at lower elevations and clay at the tops of the hills. The appellations also have relatively high rainfall, and some years this can have a significant impact on production.
Vines are one of the only plants that can withstand the heat and aridity of Corbières, and can thrive in the stony, nutrient-poor soils there. Red wine dominates here, accounting for 94 per cent of production, mainly with Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvedre. It is the largest appellation in Languedoc, with 13,500 hectares under production, and is split up into 11 different terroirs used by 2,200 separate producers.
Corbières has been subjected to millennia of geological upheaval, and as a result the soils contain multiple layers of historical rock, moved there by ancient tectonic movements. Clay and sand is typical across Corbières soils, but there are often different characteristics to individual terroirs. Near the Mediterranean there is a high concentration of coral limestone, while at higher altitudes schist-rich soils are more likely. Boutenac has red sandstone, Lezignan has stony terraces, and Queribus and Serviès both feature calcareous clay.
The arid, stony soils of Lagamas, in Languedoc-Roussillon, are set just below the Larzac limestone plateau. The area has hot summers, cold winters and mild springs and autumns. During the summer, the Tramontane wind brings humidity from the northwest, which helps to keep the vines free of disease.
This appellation in the west of Languedoc is famous for its unique red wines. It is named after the village of Minerve, which is set among foothills and takes its name in turn from the ancient Roman goddess, Minerva. Winemaking here goes back to the time of the Roman occupation, or perhaps even before. Minervois was given AOC status in 1985, and hosts around 5,000 hectares of vine growth. The celebrated red wines of Minervois are made with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, which must make up 60 per cent of the blend, sometimes alongside Carignan and Cinsault. White wines and the sweet Minervois Noble are usually made up of Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.
There is some diversity in the climate of Minervois, which is divided into five zones. In the northwest is Cotes Noires, which is influenced the most by the cooling effect of the Atlantic, and is situated among the foothills of the Montagne Noir mountain range. In the southwest, near the famous fortified city of Carcassonne, is La Clamoux, which has flatter terrain than elsewhere in the appellation and is made up of alluvial terraces. In the middle of Minervois is La Zone Centrale, at elevations of up to 400 metres. La Causse, in the northeast, is on the highlands. It has poor, dry soils and yields the lowest of all of the zones. Finally, Les Serres, which is warmer and most influenced by the Mediterranean, down in the southeast.