The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Languedoc
It stretches from the Spanish border to the outskirts of Nîmes and includes the vineyards of the whole Languedoc « Appellation Controlee » area.
In a region immersed in sunshine yet swept by opposing winds (sea wind and the tramontane from the north-west), the PDO Languedoc terroirs enjoy a Mediterranean climate which diminishes as they become more distant from the coast.
A huge diversity of soils
There is a huge diversity of soils in the Languedoc depending on where you are: terraces of rolled pebbles or shingle, sandstone and marl, limestone and schist, clay, fine sandy soil, basalt …they are what make each Languedoc terroir different from the next.
A typically mediterranean climate
Mediterranean. Summers are hot and dry, spring and autumn mild, even though morning frosts are not unknown in April. Winters are mild too, sunny, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing. Rainfall is low (the lowest in France is certain areas) whilst the omnipresent Tramontane wind helps prevent plant disease. These are ideal conditions for growing grapes. At the far west of the area, the Mediterranean influence is lower and combines with the Atlantic Ocean influence which has a strong effect on the climate in the Cardabès and Limoux appellations.
Grapes with history
Climate conditions and type of soil have dictated the choice of grape and where they should be grown. Languedoc wines must contain at least two grape varieties (except for Clairette du languedoc and Picpoul de Pinet appellation wines, which are made from one single grape variety). Several, whose roots go way back in history, complement each other, thus producing wines of greater complexity.
Reds and rosés: black Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (must make up 50% minimum of the wine), together with historic varieties such as Counoise, Cinsault, Morastel, Rivairenc, black Piquepoul and black Terret..
Whites: white Grenache, white Clairette, Bourboulenc, white Piquepoul, Roussanne, Marsanne, Rolle and Tourbat (70 % minimum for all these 8 varieties), together with white Carignan, white Terret, Ugni blanc, Maccabeu and 10% maximum of Viognier.
Yield: the maximum yield is 50 hectolitres per hectare for red and rosé wines and 60 hectolitres per hectare for whites. The average yield recorded in recent surveys is around 45 hectolitres per hectare.
The terroirs and appellations of the PDO Languedoc
A pyramid shaped organisation
The PDO Languedoc in figures
38 appellations and terroirs.
531 towns or villages making up the Languedoc appellation, stretching over the 4 administrative counties of Hérault, Gard, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales.
43 300 hectares registered as PDO production area in the appellation zone.
1 583 070 hectolitres of wines registered as PDO Languedoc.
6 000 vintners and winegrowers producing wines designated as DPO Languedoc.