Chateau La Roque is located in the Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St Loup, an appellation in the southeast of France that was officially recognized only in 1985. The estate traces its history to 1259, when the brothers Jean et Guilhaume de La Roque purchased the property that is now Chateau La Roque and they planted vineyards. By the early 15th century the family was making wines commercially. Today the 100-acre estate is run by Jacques Figuette and the winemaker is Claude Gros. The estate makes red and white wines, though the majority, 80%, are reds. Vineyards of red grapes are planted to 55% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, and 20% Grenache. Vineyards for white wine grapes are planted to Marsanne, de Rolle (a grape grown exclusively in southeast France), Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. The signature red is the Cupa Numismae, which is 65% Syrah and 35% Mourvedre. Robert M. Parker Jr. noted that the estate’s wines “have long been known for their fleshy, fruit-filled, often downright flamboyant ways.”
Languedoc-Roussillon is very large wine-producing region in south and southwestern France extending along the Mediterranean coast from northern Spain to the Rhone Valley. It includes more than 800,000 vineyard acres and numerous appellations, nearly all created since the mid-20th century. Languedoc-Roussillon produces one-third of all the wine made in France and it long had a reputation for quantity over quality. In the last few decades, however, outside investors and some long-time local producers have greatly improved vineyard practices and winemaking. The result is that Languedoc-Roussillon is now home to many entrepreneurially-minded producers highly focused on quality, and it enjoys a buzz among wine buyers looking for well-crafted, robust wines offered at excellent values. The most successfully grown red grapes are the traditional Rhone varietals of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, though Carignan and Cinsault are also planted. The intense sun and dry weather makes it tougher to grow white grapes, though Chardonnay and some other white grapes are often successful. Chardonnay is used for the popular sparkling wine Crémant de Limoux, a Languedoc-Roussillon appellation created in 1990.