There’s no question about it, this is the center of French wine country.
While one may hear a great deal about Bordeaux and Provence wines, which come from about two to five hours away, the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon don’t seem to get the same amount of attention. But, oh my, they should!
I don’t pretend to be a oenophile, but I really do enjoy a good glass of red wine. And since arriving in Carcassonne I have gained a new appreciation of what a really great red wine can do for my mood and overall sense of well-being. Here’s one that’s magical to me:
As we go out on our adventures through the countryside, we are amazed at how many vineyards and wineries pepper the landscape.
There are 700,000 acres under vines in this region, and this is the largest wine-producing region in the world. It is responsible for more than a third of France’s total wine production.
The early history of Languedoc wine dates back to the fifth century BC, when the Greeks planted vineyards along the Mediterranean coast near Narbonne. The wines have a long and storied history, having been used in hospitals in the 14th century for their “healing powers” and during both World Wars for the daily wine rations given to French soldiers.
David and Mike’s house is a block away from what is purported to be (and I can see why – it’s certainly my favorite) the best wine shop in Carcassonne, called Cabanel. There is a beautiful blonde woman who works there and we have bonded despite language difficulties. She, like most of the people we have met here, doesn’t speak any English, but we muddle through and she has introduced me to some spectacular wines.
The age of the vines and the terroir, make it all work. Corbieres and Minervois have proven to be my favorite wine-growing regions thus far.
What’s really amazing, as well, is how low the prices are! Many of the bottles of wine in the supermarket are about 3-4 euros. The most expensive wine you will find there is about 12 euros. At Cabanel, a high end wine is considered 12-15 euros. And for that, you can really get a memorable bottle of wine!
- Paula Rath