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Friday 19 July 2013

What to do in the South of France? - Wine tasting!

There is a reason the South of France is renowned for its wine…

Vineyards cover a vast area of land in the South of France. The Languedoc Roussillon region makes up 40% of France’s total vineyard area, which is evident when walking, cycling or driving around the region. Long hours of summer sun create a hot, dry climate which is perfect for grapes to ripen well and quickly.

Almost anything can be grown in the Languedoc region, and is. Provence is well known for its very pale, light and refreshing rosés. The Southwest is extremely diverse and venerable in wine-making and there are many grape varieties which can only grow here.

Certified organic “bio” wines (meaning organically produced from A to Z, from the vineyards to the processing) are now produced in the South. The Domains listed below all worked hard to offer lines of fully organic wine.

 Know the lingo:

  • Domaine- an estate which produces wine
  • Vigne- vine or vineyard
  • Cave/caveau- storage cellar for wine

Sylva Plana- 04 67 93 43 55

Sylva Plana is a welcoming and modern Domaine in Laurens. There work a small team of ambitious individuals who, despite their success are very happy to talk to you and show you around. Régisse orchestrates the wine production in all its stages and can tell you about the different processes and grapes.

Wine-inspired modern artwork is displayed and sold around the Caveau and in the shop (look out for Jane Appleton’s work).  The shop also stocks a wide range of other produce, including foie gras at only €5, confit de volaille, terrine au piment d’espelette and confit d’ognions.

Sylva Plana also have a café and restaurant on site with a large outside seating area. You might find yourself eating vegetables and fruits from the chef’s very own potage (vegetable allotment)!

Our pick: under the recommendation of Régisse, the ‘Songe de l’Abbeye’ (made up primarily of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mouvèdre grapes) is a dark, fruity and full-bodied red wine that he buys. Perfect with red meat, chocolate and mature cheeses.

Château de La Liquière -  04 67 90 29 20

Château de La Liquière also has a modern feel when you step into the caveau, with bottles beautifully displayed on curved racks complementing the spiralling stairs. However, if you turn your attention to the detail of the foundations of the building, you will notice authentic stone floors beneath you, and around a corner the original caves with old, damp walls which smell of nothing but a wine cellar! Large shelves also display a variety of local products for sale including honey, tapenade, fleur de sel, fine olive oils and vinegars and even aubergine caviar!
The Vidals are a family of winemakers, the business started in 1960 and still run by them today. They strive to “remain faithful to our terroir and our country origins” whilst making better and better wines each year. They use organic manure and aim for perfectionism, handpicking harvest with great care.

Our pick: try their light, white flower and citrus white wine, Les Amandiers, or even Les Amandiers rosé with raspberry, redcurrant and crème caramel aromas.

Don’t miss: 

Cave de Roquebrun - 04 67 89 64 35

This is a great cave for wine tasting and gourmet local products! It sells some of the best wines known to the region.

Check out our article on Le Chameau Ivre - Where to Drink for a taste of what this is all about!

Our video featuring all of these wine Domains and more!

Did you know?

In the late 19th century, the French government commissioned Louis Pasteur to study the French wine industry in order to decipher what was plaguing the wine. Understanding the role oxygen played, as well as the processes of yeast and fermentation was indispensable, and those same techniques are still used today, although aided by modern machinery. 

Leftover impure sediment can be used as a raw material in products such as lipstick.

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