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).

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk