Summer in the South of France

Samuel Johnson so memorably said “This is one of the disadvantages of wine, it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.” I have a glass of wine in my hand, so here are some words. Please do not confuse them with thoughts.

We’re heading to the South of France for August, via bottle rather than plane, train or car, so no masks required!

Once known largely for vast volumes of pretty dull wine, the South is arguably now the region of the most diversity and innovation in France, the huge range of terroirs and climates producing countless very individual wines.

It’s a huge area, and still a source of a lot of wine, most of it red. The greater Languedoc-Roussillon region is the largest vineyard area in the world with a geographic identity. It contributes 5% of the world’s wine, more than Australia, more than South Africa and more than Chile. It produces over a quarter of France’s wines. But quality and individuality is now the key, rather than volume.

The sheer scale and variety can make it confusing, so let’s break it down a little, by designation, by grapes, and by geography and climate.