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Buying Languedoc Wines
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Buying Languedoc wines


The wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon are produced by private wine makers known as récoltants, co-operatives and négociants.


Récoltants plant the vines, care for them, pick the grapes, make and mature the wines and sell them. In other words they are responsible for every step of the process. Buying wine directly from a récoltant is often lot of fun. They want to tell you all about their wine, how they grew it and what makes it special. Depending on the expertise and fame of the wine maker and the type of wine he makes you can expect to pay between €6 and €30 for a good bottle of well-made wine.


Cave co-operates are usually owned by the members. The grape growers are contracted to grow the grapes, harvest them and bring them to the cave where they need to meet the standards set by the co-operative. Each has its own criteria and in some cases this is very strict with the aim of producing various ranges and quality levels. Others have chosen not to position themselves in the quality end of the market and instead have continued to make bulk wine of average quality sold at low prices. Beware of cheap wine, it can give you a headache!


Actually it’s not the wine that gives you the headache, it’s the additives and Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the main culprit. It’s added to the wine at various stages of the wine making process and for differing reasons but its main function is to inhibit or kill unwanted yeasts and bacteria. It should not be confused with the powdered sulphur that is sometimes dusted onto vines to protect them from mildew. Also sulphur will occur naturally during fermentation and is present in small quantities even in un-sulphured wines. Have you ever found yourself with a headache after drinking only one glass of wine? It could be that the wine was over-dosed with SO2 and a throbbing head is a very naturel reaction to this chemical. Wine makers don’t have to add large doses of SO2 and some don’t add any at all, although there are risks with this approach. I find that the bulk producers who want to control everything to the enth degree seem to use the most.


Unfortunately many of the co-operatives have found themselves unable to compete in a world that is demanding higher quality and have gone out of business. Those that have survived welcome visitors to taste and buy their wine and the caves are usually open 6 days a week and sometimes Sundays too. You can expect to pay between €4 and €20 per bottle.


Négociants are businesses that make wine and/or buy wine from private producers who do not bottle all or any of their production. The Négociants will blend and bottle the wine under their own labels and usually sell the wines in large quantities such as to supermarkets.






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