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.
One of the most popular red varieties planted, it ripens late and prefers hot dry climates. It probably originated in Spain, where it is still widely grown. Grenache is best known for its use in Southern Rhone wines, including those of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.