Hérault wines

Ten vintage facts that wine lovers should know about the historic region’s vineyards. By Henry Palmer


4: The number of areas in the Hérault departement producing different AOC Muscat wine – namely Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval and St Jean de Minervois. Muscat is best known as a fortified sweet wine tasting of honey with hints of marmalade, yet a number of winemakers in these regions are increasingly producing a dry Muscat alongside this vin doux naturel.

20: The number of villages that are part of the Saint-Chinian terroir. This diverse region takes in the River Orb and the mountains of the Caroux and Espinouse. It has been an AOC since 1982, producing rich reds and generously flavoured roses. (Find more information and details of wineries to visit on saint-chinian.com).

50: A conservative estimate of the number of different regional wines, along with 20 or so Champagnes, available at L’Atelier winebar in Montpellier. Set in an atmospheric old workshop that formerly housed a florist, this informal establishment is one of several new wine bars in the Languedoc capital – testimony to changing attitudes and a local, growing appreciation for sampling fine wine in a relaxed environment. (L’Atelier, 4 rue Rebuffy, Montpellier; 00 33 4 67 57 47 23; latelier-jeanfleuriste.fr).

150: A reckoning of the number of stalls that are set out on Esplanade Charles de Gaulle in the centre of Montpellier every Friday night in July and August when Les Estivales market takes place from 6pm to midnight. There’s a party atmosphere, with much sampling of local wines and foods ( ot-montpellier.fr).

200: The age of the estate of Domaine Saint-Andre, one of several vineyards set on the banks of the Thau Lagoon. Stretching over 40 hectares, it was acquired in 2002 by Inès and Thierry Hébert who produce well-regarded reds of Cabernet and Merlot; roses from Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache; and whites from Roussane, Viognier and Chardonnay. The estate is close to the village of Mèze (00 33 4 99 04 94 73; domainesaintandre.com).

1139: The year the Abbey of Valmagne was founded. With extensive farmlands – and vineyards – it became one of the richest monasteries in the south of France. After the Revolution it was sold privately, and today wine is still produced here, with enormous vats stored, stunningly, in the ancient nave of the monastic church. It located near the village of Villeveyrac north of the Thau Lagoon (00 33 4 67 78 06 09; valmagne.com for details of visits).

1564: The year that King Charles IX visited La Tour de Farges. This ancient winery lies close to the town of Lunel and was painted by Gustave Courbet in the 19th century. Curiously, Karl Marx was also a guest here. Tastings daily by appointment (00 33 4 67 83 01 69; latourdefarges.com).

1869: The year that M J Lichtenstein of Montpellier established that the disease then devastating the vineyards of France was caused by a genus of plant lice called phylloxera. It was the first step on the road to recovery.

2007: The year that the Pézenas denomination of wine was officially recognised. It’s a velvety red, made of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault grapes. The Pézenas terroir covers 15 communes and produces around 60,000 hectolitres of wine annually ( pezenas-tourisme.com).

2,500,000: The estimated quantity of wine, in hectolitres, produced every year by the vineyards of the Béziers area. This – and much more – you learn at Béziers Méditerranée Oenopole (BMO), a showcase for wines in the region and a centre for wine courses. BMO is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am-noon and 2-6.30pm at 1 avenue Président Wilson, Béziers (00 33 4 67 76 20 20; beziers-agglo.org).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Extras
indybest
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home