The Other French Rosés: Languedoc Rosé Wines
Yes of course, when one thinks French rosé, he or she is automatically drawn to think:
- a pale, dry, and vivid style
- mainly of a pink wine from Provence
Yet, there is another French wine region that makes excellent rosés in a similar style: the Languedoc.
Also on the coast of the Mediterranean, Languedoc is in fact next door to Provence, and it also produces pink wines in a dry crispy style, although often just a little more richness and body to them.
The region being less internationally famous, and perhaps less glamorous than the French Riviera, Languedoc rosé wines tend to be more affordable than their Provence neighbor’s, therefore often offering a better Quality/Price Ratio.
Let’s explore the rosé wines from Languedoc, and discover some tasty examples…
Languedoc Rosé Production & Grapes
The main grapes used for rosé production in Languedoc are Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault.
There are two principal methods employed in the production of still rosé wines and one principal method employed in the production of rosé sparkling wines.
STILL ROSÉ WINE:
The two principal methods employed in the production of still rosé wines are:
- “Pressurage Direct” (Direct Pressing)
Grapes are left in contact with the skins in tank or in the press itself for a period of 2 to 6 hours. The skins are then removed during a gentle pressing cycle and the resultant lightly pigmented juice is fermented at cold temperatures as if it were a white wine.
This method is common practice in the neighboring region of Provence and is used most often for the production of pale-colored, highly-aromatic rosés.
- “Saignée” (Bleeding the Tank)
The saignée method for producing rosé literally involves the “bleeding” of free run juice from the macerating must of dark-skinned grapes destined for red wine production.
The tank is bled after 4 to 12 hours of skin contact (depending on the depth of color desired and according to the vintage) and this pink juice is fermented as if it were a white wine…with some premium rosés even undergoing barrel fermentation and barrel ageing. The resulting concentrated must left in the tank will ferment on the grapes skins to make a bigger red wine.
In summary, the saignée method allows for the production of two wine products, one red and one pink, from a single tank of grapes.
This technique is mostly used for deeper pigmented rosés. The advantage of this method is two-fold: o Firstly, it is great for cash flow. The production of rosé de saignée produces a wine 6-12 months before the ensuing red. o Secondly, as mentioned above, bleeding the tank helps concentrate what is left behind. The greater skin- to-juice ratio results in greater extraction of color and tannin and produces a red wine of serious depth.
ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE
In 2010, a proposal was set before the EU to allow for the blending of red and white wine to make rosé wine. This motion was ultimately defeated and the blending of red and white wine to make pink remains banned for still rosé in the European Union.
But for sparkling wines, such as Languedoc’s most famous one Crémant de Limoux, is allowed the blending of up to 10% still red wine from Pinot Noir to give color to base white wines (made from Mauzac and Chardonnay in Limoux).
Note that a similar exception occurs in Champagne where this method is permitted for making rosé champagnes (there adding red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier to white Chardonnay).
Languedoc Rosé Wine Appellations
Languedoc is one of the very biggest wine regions in the world.
In fact, 5% of the World’s Wine is Produced in Languedoc-Roussillon. You can learn more through our Languedoc’s key figures article Languedoc-Roussillon Infographics: Biggest Wine Region in the World!?! or click on the image below.
Rosé wines represent 14% of Languedoc’s wine production or about 25 million bottles produced annually.
Many Languedoc appellations produce rosés including:
- Pic Saint-Loup
- Languedoc AOP – Cabrières
- Languedoc AOP – La Méjanelle
- Languedoc AOP – Montpeyroux
- Languedoc AOP – Pézenas
- Languedoc AOP – Saint-Christol
- Languedoc AOP – Saint-Jean d’Orques
- Languedoc AOP – Saint-Saturnin
Languedoc Rosé Wine Reviews
Browse below our wine reviews of some tasty and most-often very affordable with a great QPR Languedoc-Roussillon Rosé Wines:
Learn More about the Languedoc Wine Region:
Read our article: Languedoc Wine: Map, Regions, Grape Varieties, History and more