The AOP Minervois, the scent of the garrigue
De pan e de vin, lo rei pòt venir- With bread and wine, we are the happiest people in the world.
The Minervois region is a vast geographic area which straddles the Aude and Hérault departments, stretching out from Carcassonne to the gates of Narbonne. Its northernmost boundary is formed by the foothills of the Montagne Noire whereas its southern limit is drawn by the softly undulating lines of the Canal du Midi. This genuine geological amphitheatre, with a wine-producing surface of 4 000 ha, offers you an unobstructed view of the Corbières and the Pyrenees.
The terroir of the Canal du Midi is the southernmost part of the Minervois region, with a more pronounced Mediterranean climate, making the grapes ripen faster on a variety of soils: limestone, rocky terraces dating back to the Quaternary, etc.
Whether red, rosé or white, the range of wines and grape varieties the Minervois ( http://www.leminervois.com/) region has to offer is very wide, mainly thanks to its climatic and geological variability. The Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Picpoul varieties, as well as the Mourvèdre, which thrives on the slopes and the plains around the Canal du Midi, produce elegant and solid red wines and rosé wines which are best consumed young. Although representing only 3% of the Appelation’s production, the white wines also stem from a wide range of varieties: Grenache, Bourboulenc, Maccabeu, Marsanne, Roussane, etc.
It is true that this region has had some kind of wine-producing vocation since the Greek and Roman eras, but not until the construction of the Canal du Midi did the real wine-growing revolution take place in the Minervois and Corbières. During this period, the landscapes were transformed into a vast ocean of vineyards and the villages started to be decorated with the discreet and elegant charm of the wine-grower’s houses.
To start exploring this terroir, we suggest you head over to the village of Homps. On the premises of the former harbour master’s office, on the banks of the Canal du Midi, you will discover thousands of regional references, carefully selected by the Cru Minervois, and displayed in the historical settings of the boutique du Chai Port-Minervois (http://www.lechai-portminervois.com/). Wine-tasting and meetings with the Appelation’s wine-growers are possible all year long.