Thursday, 22 September 2011
Diversity of Languedoc Roussillon
Whenever I describe the Languedoc Roussillon I always mention the diversity, the beauty, the countryside, the dynamism and generally the fact that the area is at the crossroads between many different influences. The nearby town of Narbonne is known as the crossroads historically as it was the meeting place for the Via Domitia and the Via Aquitania (which linked to the Atlantic coast via Toulouse and Bordeaux).
We live in the stunning countryside near the village of Minerve. The Canal du Midi is 8 km down the hill. The Mediterranean beaches are 35 minutes away at Gruissan. The Spanish border is less than 2 hours. Within 4 hours travel I could be in Avignon, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Toulouse, Nimes, Perpignan or Lyon. Therefore this area has so many influences and outsiders (like my family and I) who invade the area often bring their cultures, their styles and their make up.
In the world of viticulture this cross over of style and influence can add to a massive diversity, whilst also negating any sense of true identity. Yes, the world is changing all the time, but sometimes the known known can be safe rather than a risk. The vineyards of Burgundy mainly work with one white varietal (Chardonnay) and one red grape variety (Pinot Noir). The northern Rhone is mainly Syrah, Bordeaux is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon in the Medoc and mainly Merlot in the Saint Emilion and Pomerol areas.
So it was quite a shock to see some weird and wonderful grape varieties that are planted in this area today. I took these photos at the local Cave CoOperative in Aigne. These are some of the grapes planted in the local area.
Have you ever heard of these grape varieties that add to the diversity of the Languedoc? Auban. Aramon,, Caladoc, Carignan Blanc, Chassan, Chenanson, Clairette B, Listan, Terret Blanc, Terret Gris and Terret Noir, Egiodolan, Marselan and Portan.
Next time you are having a glass of Sauvignon Blanc just remember that there are quite a few other grape varieties waiting to be explored.