Languedoc-Roussillon, the sleeping beauty

A handful of producers have struck gold in Languedoc Roussillon. But why, asks Robert Joseph, have so many others struggled?

Photo by Brian Scott on Unsplash
Photo by Brian Scott on Unsplash

Languedoc-Roussillon is a fairytale wine region. It’s the ugly duckling that, after two millennia of being the source of cheap, mostly red wine, has now metamorphosed into an elegant swan that competes with other, more celebrated regions.  

At least, that’s the picture some would like to promote, and it is partly true.

The region has seen a dramatic rise in the price of its wines over the last decade. According to French Agrimer statistics, bulk red and rosé Minervois that was trading at €0.70 per litre in 2008-2009 had more than doubled in price by 2018. At €1.50, it was more expensive than Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and Beaujolais, and just a shade behind generic Côtes du Rhône. At €2.04 per litre, Côtes du Roussillon Villages had overtaken Côtes du Rhône Villages. Just as importantly, as the volumes of basic Vin de France dropped, the price of IGP had risen from €5.30 a litre to €8.90.

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