Known for their quality, the wines of Occitanie have made the reputation of this eponymous region and its surroundings. These beverages display their personality through their varied color and their authentic grape variety, without forgetting the richness of the terroirs and the quality of the vineyards. This piece of French territory alone contains more than sixty AOPs, nearly 50 IGPs and three major wine-growing areas. Each viticulture area is distinguished by the typicality that its geographical location gives it.
Labels and appellations of Occitanie wines
Due to the diversity of the terroir, Occitan wines have a variety of characters. Thanks to the latter, the region can enjoy the highest density of controlled appellations in the world. Combined with the influence of the Mediterranean, the grape variety, often authentic, gives rise to an exceptional flavor that deserves to be classified. Indeed, this wine region benefits from two agricultural and industrial labels as well as two appellations.
The IGP classification rewards an agricultural product that has the reputation of being unique due to its geographical origin. For Occitanie wines, all characteristics such as color and flavor are explained by the location of the Occitan region. Nestled between the high relief of the Pyrenees or the Massif Central and close to the Mediterranean Sea, the Occitan wine-growing areas have all the requirements to benefit from a Protected Geographical Indication. Added to this is the typicity of its wines and the specificity of the regional grape varieties to give wine of excellent quality.
In addition to the IGP, Occitanie wines benefit from another globally recognized classification: the protected designation of origin. This classification rewards any agricultural product produced using know-how specific to a region. These production techniques are specific to the territory concerned and do not extend beyond a geographical area. Associated with winemaking, the local grape varieties (Malbec, Tannat and Négrette) form its greatest assets in claiming this type of qualitative reward. From the cultivation of the vine to the bottling, the process of making Occitan wines follows the production techniques typical of these terroirs. These characteristic traits translated into AOP make Occitanie wine an excellent reference in terms of quality and flavor.
The AB label, wines certified organic
The Organic Farming label rewards production methods that respect biodiversity and natural resources. Due to its favorable climate for ecological viticulture, Occitanie is at the forefront of regions whose vineyards are labeled AB. The local authority even undertakes to support the winegrowers in their efforts to apply viticulture that respects the environment. In the three wine-growing areas of the region, small producers apply the technique, but the large winegrowers also remain in the same dynamism. Thus, many vineyards benefit from the AB label and all Occitan winegrowers contribute to the production of organic wines.
Apart from AB, another certification makes it possible to recompose winegrowers opting for a process that respects nature: HVE. In Occitania, vineyards that are not labeled Organic Agriculture are awarded the title of High Environmental Value. For a wine estate, the label can concern both production and the entire terroir.This certification rewards a production system including irrigation, fertilization as well as respect for biodiversity and phytosanitary intervention Several properties benefit from this quality mark such as Domaine Saint Thomas or Les Remparts.
The Occitan wine region and the wines of Occitania
In Occitania, the vineyard area extends over two parts: the south-west and the south-east. In total, the region has 263,000 hectares of vineyards, including 37,000 in the west and 226,000 in the east. This wine region is subdivided into different terroirs: Languedoc and Roussillon, grouped in the South-East domain, and South-West.
Wines and vineyards of the south-east
Bringing together the natural regions of Languedoc and Roussillon, the south-eastern vineyard faces the Mediterranean Sea at the foot of the Eastern Pyrenees. Overlooked by the Montagne Noire, it then extends into the Gulf of Lion to be limited to the north by the slopes of the Cévennes. Each terroir has its own authentic grape variety and its wines of character.
- In the natural region of Languedoc, appellations such as AOP Corbières are renowned for expressing the contrasts between the humid climate of the Mediterranean and the dry one of the side of the Montagne Noire.
- IGP Côtes de Tongue wines take their specificities from the geological and meteorological influence of the region. This appellation brings together more than twenty municipalities, cooperatives and around sixty estates.
- Between the heat of the Mediterranean and the coolness of the Cévennes, the vineyard of Pic Saint Loup finds a place conducive to its development. The red wines are deeply fruity and spicy with a hint of aromatic plant. The rosés express a perfectly balanced fruity flavor.
- The Wines of the City of Carcassonne do honor to their production area characterized by the climatic effect and the typicality of the vineyards. This wine-growing land bears a label of the same name and brings together around thirty estates.
- The wines of Limoux draw their character from its unique Mauzac grape variety. The Blanquette ancestral method, the Blanquette de Limoux and the Crémant de Limoux make the reputation of this terroir.
- As for the Pic Saint Loup appellation, it refers to velvety wines of unparalleled depth and benefits from a protected designation of origin. This terroir is best suited for red wines, but rosés are also produced here.
In Roussillon, Côtes de Roussillon Village refers to red wines resulting from a combination of grape varieties such as Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan.
- The Maury appellations are recognized by the sweetness of their wines, characterized by a majority Grenache grape variety.
- The Banyuls appellation refers to naturally sweet red wines aged in glass carboys or barrels. Its oxidative character has given way to different methods allowing to have white, amber, rimage, rosé or traditional Banyuls. As for the Banyuls Grand Cru, it designates the wine made mainly with red Grenache and aged for 30 months in an oak barrel.
- Nestled on the Vermeille coast, Collioure is the source of AOP red, rosé and white wines. Raised in Grenache Noir and aged until they have a perfect aroma, these wines are distinguished by their softness on the palate.
- Characterized by an alternation of schists, gneiss and granite arenas, the Côtes du Roussillon Villages produce exclusively powerful and dense red wines.This appellation varies according to the terroir and the village concerned Thus, it is subdivided into Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France and Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel.
- Muscat de Rivesaltes is intended to produce Muscat d’Alexandrie and Muscat à petits grains. These two types of grapes combine to produce exceptionally sweet wines that can be enjoyed all year round. This sweetness is topped with typical bouquets to brighten up any table.
Wines and vineyards of the south-west
Located in the Occitanie region, the south-west vineyard extends between the moors and the Atlantic Pyrenees to the foot of the Massif Central. This territory brings together various vineyards at the origin of exceptional wines characterized by the quality of their soil. Among the best known are the following names.
- Armagnac & Floc de Gascogne: this vineyard nestled in the Gers department brings together three terroirs, including Ténarèze, Haut-Armagnac and Bas-Armagnac. In addition to vintage Armagnacs, it produces wines such as Blanche d'Armagnac and Floc de Gascogne. Depending on their age, Armagnac can be classified as hors d'Âge, XO, VSOP or VS.
- The Madiran vineyard occupies the hillsides of Gers and Hautes-Pyrénées and produces wines expressing the oceanic influence associated with a mountain climate.
- An extension of Madiran, the Saint Mont vineyard dominates the Côtes de Gascogne. This terroir is conducive to red and rosé wines typical of the south-west, with tannat being the dominant grape variety.
- The hilly slopes of Gaillac reflect a perfect balance between a Mediterranean climate and oceanic influence. Gaillac wines are then available in dry white, aromatic red, rosé, primeur and sparkling wines.
- The wines of Fronton reveal a nose characterized by a local grape variety: Negrette. The velvety tannin of the reds and rosés enhances the quality of these AOP-certified vines.
- On alluvial soil and limestone Causses grow the vines of Cahors. Added to the effect of an oceanic and Mediterranean climate, this terroir is famous for its black wines with dark purple colors and silky tannins.
- As for the Coteaux du Quercy, they invite you to taste red or rosé wines of dense color with an expression of ripe fruit and a hint of spice.