Strict production rules
AOC Languedoc production rules follow on from those of the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc. To summarize, grapes must come from a precise geographic area (specifically designated land parcel), vineyard management must meet strict specifications, the wine must contain a minimum of two grape varieties, in proportions laid down in the specifications.
Production rules adapted to the terroir
The balance, complexity and special character of Languedoc wines are due to the grape varieties being adapted to the terroir and the savoir faire of the producers. Practice and production regulations are laid down in the decree of 29 October 2009 (AOC Languedoc specifications).
Climate conditions and type of soil have dictated the choice of grape and where they should be grown.
Appellation wines must contain at least two grape varieties. Several, whose roots go way back in history, complement each other, thus producing wines of greater complexity.
Red and rosé : black Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (50% minimum), together with Cinsault and black Carignan.
Whites : white Grenache, white Clairette, Bourboulenc, white Piquepoul, Roussanne, Marsanne, Rolle and Tourbat (70 % minimum for all these 8 varieties), together with white Carignan, white Terret, Ugni blanc, Maccabeu and 10% maximum Viognier.
Alcohol level : over 11,5 %
Vine care : Spurs hard pruned with a maximum of 12 buds per plant
Yield : The maximum yield is 50 hectolitres per hectare for red and rosé wines and 60 hectolitres per hectare for whites. The average yield recorded in recent surveys is around 45 hectolitres per hectare.
Planting density : A minimum of 4 000 plants a hectare. Some producers plant over 5 000 per hectare which means a diminished yield per plant.
Vinification Traditional vinification is the most common in red wines, although in certain wines whole grapes are used in vinification (carbonic maceration). Rosés are bled or produced by direct pressure, and white wines are the result of direct pressing. Temperatures are controlled from the start of fermentation until the wines are fully matured.
Typical characteristics of Languedoc wines
AOC Languedoc red
Red AOC Languedoc are lively in colour with aromas that epitomize the Mediterranean terroirs, most especially ripe red fruit and berries, spice and wild garrigue herbs. In the mouth there are fine, elegant tannins, rich aromas, and they are splendidly rounded. A red Languedoc is a perfect match for grilled meats, game (rabbit) lamb, cheese (semi-dry Pélardon and firm crusted cheeses…)
AOC Languedoc rosé
Rosé wines vary in colour from deep to incredibly pale pink, have aromas of fresh fruit and are well balanced as well as fresh. They are splendid with summer meals in the garden, charcuterie, Séte fish tarts and as summer aperitifs.
AOC Languedoc white
Languedoc white wines are usually pale gold and open, with aromas of white flowers (peach and almond blossom) and fruit (citrus, pears …). They have the typically Languedoc rounded characteristics, are well balanced and delightfully fresh. They are especially good with Mediterranean fish, Bouzigue oysters, Bourride Sétoise and Brandade de Nîmes