“Languedoc-Roussillon is a big area. Around 200,000 hectares. Exactly how many producers there are is difficult to know, but it is probably about 10,000 to 15,000.
In our book “Languedoc-Roussillon, The Wines Of Southern France” we have selected almost 100 with profiles and around 150 more which we basically only mention by name. All equally exciting and worth discovering, even those just mentioned by name.
How do you do to select these gems out of the 15,000 that exist?
It has taken us many years.
Britt and I have travelled extensively in the region, including for the wine tours that we organize here. But also on press trips and other things. Wine fairs, wine tastings, and many other types of events have given us the opportunity to taste wines and meet producers.
Maybe you know about the so-called “primeur tastings” in Bordeaux. There is a similar event in Languedoc-Roussillon, Millésime et Terroir de Languedoc, Languedoc-Roussillon Week. During a week-long event, you taste wines every morning through the current wines from a selection of appellations.
If you make a little effort and work hard, you can taste about 150 wines every morning. After attending this event for several years in a row, it adds up to quite a few wines.
What is extra exciting is to taste all these wines blind. You choose whether you want to taste blind or not and it is far from everyone who tastes blind. But I usually do. When you notice that some producers regularly pop up as particularly interesting in the blind tasting, or that some stand out from the crowd, well then that is a good sign.
It is also a way to find new names. Sometimes you are surprised. “I have never heard of this producer, but it systematically gets a PLUS in my comments”. Then you look it up.
Many who write about wine in magazines and books base their selection – at least in part – on what others have thought or written. Therefore, it is often the same “celebrity producers” who come up again and again. Those who have once been noticed tend to be noticed again.
We have tried to do differently. To independently and without too much external influence find good producers. As a consequence, in our book, you will find many names that are not so well known, which may not be familiar at all. But that’s what we like. It is this type of small producers we like to bring forward. Why tell the world about the producers who everyone already knows about? That have already made their success. It is more exciting and more satisfying to talk about the more unknown ones, but who are at least as good. Often better, even.
It is also important to meet the producers. The people behind the wine! To a large extent, they are the subject of the book, not their wines.
For example, just to take one example, Audrey Rouanet, at Domaine Rouanet-Montcelebre, born on October 17, 1987. On October 19, dad came home and told the family that he had bought a winery. Without telling anyone in advance.
When she was 15, her father had realized that none of the children would want to take over the winery. Without telling anyone about what he had concluded. So he came home one day and said: “now I have found a buyer for the vineyard”.
Audrey, then 15, said, “No, I want to take over and make wine”.
Two years ago, the father tragically died in an accident at the vineyard. And at 30 years old, she became sole in charge of the winery.
I met her the first time a year ago, in 2018, a year after she suddenly had to take over running the winery, and I really liked her wines.
We hope you will like them and everyone else’s too!
Visually, Languedoc-Roussillon is a beautiful area. We hope that we have succeeded in getting that message across it in the book as well, with all our photography. It is most spectacular in the far south, in the lesser-known part called Roussillon, but everywhere it is a little barren, wild and beautiful.
We hope that you will find it beautiful too. With wonderful gastronomy!
I would also like to thank Petter Antonisen, who did a fantastic job of designing the book.
Thank you for being here at the launch of our book. I hope you will like it. Book NUMBER TEN. It and some of our other books are on the table.
Join us on one of our wine tours, for example to the Languedoc, or on any other of the 30 we organize each year.
Questions or comments? ”
This was a short introduction to the work behind the book, as presented at the launch of the book “Languedoc-Roussillon, The Wines Of Southern France” at the Dansmuseum in Stockholm.