Languedoc Roussillon, Barossa Valley

Languedoc-Roussillon is oft called by the abbreviated 'Languedoc' - It's the coastal region of southern France from Provence to the Pyrenees Mountains and borders with Spain. With over 3 times the amount of vines than the entire of Bordeaux it's a vast region that produces a lot of wine. Vin de Pays d'Oc and sparkling Crémant de Limoux are two of its most famous exports.

The regions history when it comes to wine is a long a rich one, however it is also home to some of the newest AUC appellations in France, like Cabardès, which was only officially recognised in 1999. The region is a haven for enthusiasts of wine on a budget, for it is here you can find some remarkably high-quality wines without breaking the bank. Given the higher amount of sun hours experienced in the South of France, the wines coming from there are more full bodied and rich than from other more prestigious regions.

In the recent past (1970's) Languedoc region was known to produce vast amounts of cheap wine that didn't help its reputation region at all, however a steady improvement now sees it responsible for producing some great value wines that are generally blends, though not entirely so. Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Carmenere, Cinsault and Picpoul are some of the most common widely planted varietals. Grower cooperatives produce some remarkable wines alongside their more traditional winery neighbours.
The Barossa Valley is about an hour and a half drive to the North of Adelaide, in South Australia and is the oldest wine region in the country, founded by German settlers. The region can be credited with putting Australian wine on the world wine map, thanks to Shiraz, which thrives in the warm climate (though Hunter Valley Semillon also contributed.)

For many years traditionalist wine makers thought the grape variety was best suited to the cooler climates of the Rhône Valley and that the variety would cook and in the warmth of the Australian sun. Although South Australian Shiraz is a bigger, beefier wine than its southern French counterpart Syrah, no one can deny the regions propensity to produce world class wines.

Not only Shiraz is cultivated in Barossa Valley, with other red varieties such as Grenache, Mourvedre (Mataro) and to a lesser extent Sauvignon. The white varieties that thrive best seem to be Semillon, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals like Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane.

The Valley has many subregions which all have unique terroirs. Seppeltsfield, Marananga, Greenock are to name but a few. With a huge number of wineries in such a small area, and a host of accommodation, the region is very popular for wine-tourism. In the words of Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, the Barossa Valley became "Australia's quintessential wine region."
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