Rustic, secretive and unpretentious, the Languedoc wine region doesn’t make much of a fuss about itself. In contrast to the world-renowned vintnering regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne, the ancient Languedoc and its distinctive vintages don’t hold quite the same cachet with collectors and auction houses. But visitors who are passionate about discovering France off the beaten path— including lesser-known wine regions– should certainly give a trip to the area also known administratively as Occitanie some serious consideration. Read on for a few of our favorite wineries and appellations in the region– and learn how a private, personally tailored tour of this under-appreciated part of France can be an unforgettable part of your next luxury getaway.
Private & Luxurious Ways to Enjoy Languedoc Wines
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Explore Fine Wineries Around Montpellier
Best known as a vibrant southwestern city with close access to the Mediterranean Sea, the regional capital of Montpellier is also a gateway to some of the finest wineries and vineyards in the Languedoc. The area hosts noble appellations such as Faugères, one of the oldest in the region– producing deep, full-bodied reds made predominantly from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre grape varietals. These warm-climate wines, grown in a unique terroir called “schist” that permits free draining even in deep soil, are entirely different in character from those produced in cooler terroirs elsewhere in France. Faugères is also home to some unique and prized white wines, such as “Allegro” from the much-lauded Domaine Ollier-Taillefer.
The geographically rich, diverse lands around Montpellier are also home to appellations such as Coteaux-du-Languedoc Saint-Georges-d’Orques; its wines, which have been made since the medieval period, are coveted by connoisseurs for their direct, rich fruit and spice notes, soft tannins and ability to mature over several years. Many other Coteaux-du-Languedoc wines and domains are equally worth discovering.
Meanwhile, prestigious estates such as the Chateau de Flaugergues offer moments of exclusivity and luxury for wine lovers wishing to make the most of a visit around Montpellier. This 17th-century chateau boasts elaborate formal gardens, its own vineyards producing fine Pays d’Oc and Languedoc wines, and a gastronomic restaurant that has regularly been lauded by Michelin. Owned by the Colbert family, whose ancestor Jean-Baptiste served as a minister to King Louis XIV, the Chateau is a delightful stop on any bespoke itinerary in the region.
Enjoy the Rustic & Wild Charms of Corbières
For those with a love of both rugged landscapes and historical depth, the rustic Corbières appellation will certainly appeal. Its history stretches back to the Gallo-Roman period, but winemaking really began flourishing during the Middle Ages, when Benedictine monks made wine in numerous abbeys around grand fortified cities such as Carcassonne. Known among the French as the “land of the Cathares”– a group of Christians persecuted as heretics for their unconventional spiritual beliefs during the Crusades– this region is celebrated for its windswept hills and nearby mountain ranges, including the foothills of the Pyrenees and Montagne d’Alaric. Its noble and delicious wines, produced across vastly different terroirs from limestone to marshy terrain, are less appreciated than its romantic fortified castles. But they most certainly deserve greater attention. While reds made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes make up some 94% of all wines produced here, there are a few domaines making whites as well.
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The appellation is gaining new stature and attention as young viniculturists move to the area and tend vineyards using innovative winemaking techniques; many of the best new producers make organic and/or biodynamic wines that are consolidating the reputation of Corbières. Wineries such as Domaine Les Cascades focus on low yields and organic production techniques to produce some of the appellation’s most interesting and delicious new bottles. They also make gourmet products to try and purchase onsite, such as olive oil, truffles and saffron.
Anyone in search of authentic encounters with French artisans and holding a more rustic interpretation of luxury will enjoy a private wine-tasting itinerary in this modest but rich vintnering region. Your private guide will arrange tastings and tours in only the very best cellars in the area, perhaps between historical visits to craggy, dramatic chateaux, fortified cités and Abbeys.
Stay, Taste & Soak Up History Around Béziers
Reputed for being “home to some of the most exciting reds in the South”, Béziers is a quiet town in Languedoc with a dark and violent medieval history and a languid, peaceful present. Appellations such as Saint-Chinian, Cotes de Thonge and Minervois La Livinière are home to wineries that have been steadily gaining in prestige over the past years. The microclimates around Béziers produce wines that are noted for their intense fruits and balanced minerality; most of the finest among these are grown in schist soil, giving them an unusual and delicate character. Overall, it’s possible to find some true gems for your personal cellar: visits to domains such as the Chateau Cazal Viel, owned by Laurent Miquel, afford wine collectors and enthusiasts a chance to truly get to know what makes this wine-growing region special.
Meanwhile, the town of Béziers itself is becoming increasingly trendy for its interesting and ambiance-filled wine bars; your private tour might also include a complete historical exploration into the town’s tragic history as a Cathare massacre site during the Crusades.
A stay in this charming area may also be in order for luxury-lovers: the Hotel Particuliers Béziers is notably recommended by The Telegraph for its sumptuous, elegantly appointed rooms, jasmine-scented garden and outdoor pool.
Take a private wine tour of the Languedoc region
As you’ve now learned, this area of France holds many secrets and hidden corners. This is why a private wine tour led by our expert guides is the best way to really understand the Languedoc and all its treasures. If you’re ready to embark on your own luxurious adventure in Occitanie, contact us to start building your bespoke wine tour now.