Saturday, 6 December 2008

Languedoc Roussillon Wines

Here are some stats:
In 2006 the Languedoc Roussillon had 268000 hectares under vine.

The total volume produced was 16,044,000 hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres= 133 standard bottles (75cl)) Therefore the total production was 2,139,146,520 (that is 2.1 billion bottles!!!)

The split for this is:
69 % Red
18 % Rose
13% White

Of the total production:
19 % is Appellation Controlee.....meant to be the best.
54% is Vin de Pays....literally 'Country Wine' where you can mention the grape varieties on the label.
27% is Vin de Table...the rest.

The principal grape varieties planted:
Reds:
Carignan 52000 hectares(ha)
Grenache 45000 ha
Syrah 44000ha
Merlot 31000ha
Cabernet Sauvignon 19000ha
Cinsault 14000ha
Total red:205000 hectares.
Carignan is still the most extensively planted grape variety. Although it is regarded as a bit of a weed and usually blended with other grapes it can still produce stunning wines...as long as the vines are old.

Whites:
Chardonnay 12000 hectares (ha)
Muscat(s) 8000 ha
Sauvignon Blanc 6000 ha
Grenache Blanc 4000 ha
Total white:30000 hectares.

I believe that Chardonnay was only introduced to the Languedoc area in 1978. Its global domination is continuing!

The producers:
72% Cave Cooperatives
26% Independent Winemakers
2% Negociants.


The wine world is constantly changing and evolving. This is especially relevant in the Languedoc Roussillon where the volume of production has reduced significantly in the last few years. There have been generous incentives to grub up vineyards and stop producing wine. There have also been significant changes in demand for different styles of wines. The Rose revolution continues at pace. It will be interesting to see a similar set of statistics in 5 or 10 years time.

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