Top 10 Languedoc wineries to visit

The wine cellar and tasting room at Château Castigno was designed by Belgian architect Lionel Jadot and takes the form of a giant wine bottle lying on its side in front of old Grenache vines.

With such a wealth of appellations, terroirs, climates and wine styles, as well as many beautiful villages and towns in which to base themselves, tourists are spoiled for choice when it comes to taking a wine holiday in the Languedoc.

There are companies that arrange wine tours across the region, which can work well if you don’t have access to a car or if you’re keen to be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Hiring a car yourself, however, can leave you free to explore wineries at your own pace, and driving through the back roads is a great way to really get to know a region and its surroundings.

A few things to note when visiting wineries

Always call or email the winery in advance to make an appointment, or to double check that someone will be there when you turn up.

Lunchtime is sacrosanct – avoid visiting wineries between 12pm and 2pm.

Some wineries charge a small fee for a visit and a tasting, which is sometimes waived if you purchase wine at the end of the tour.

Château Castigno – St-Chinian

Château Castigno’s wine cellar and tasting space. Credit: Château Castigno.

On the road between St-Chinian and Minerve – two villages well worth exploring – is the Village & Château Castigno, or the Castigno Wine Village, in Assignan. Set up by Belgian entrepreneur Marc Verstraete, the property has 32ha of vines as well as a hotel, guest rooms spread throughout the village, and a number of restaurants and bars. The unusual and rather conspicuous building that houses the cellar and tasting room, brought into being by Belgian designer Lionel Jadot, takes the form of a giant wine bottle laid on its side. The overall design aesthetic is somewhat…eclectic: the hotel, holiday houses, restaurants and generally anything related to Castigno are all painted in vibrant shades of pink, purple and red (supposedly representing the many shades of red wine). As with the labels of the wines, the colour scheme may not be to everyone’s taste. Yet it can’t be denied that the overall experience is of very high quality, and many of the greatest pleasures come in the smallest details.

The winemaking – previously overseen by Rhône-based winemaking consultants Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie – and general management of the estate has relatively recently (2021) been taken over by Alsatian-born Clément Mengus. On arrival, Mengus insisted on converting to biodynamics and he has brought a refreshing lightness of touch to the range.

9, Avenue de St-Chinian, Assignan, 34360

+33 4 67 24 26 41

Château de Jonquières – Terrasses du Larzac

Château de Jonquières. Credit: Decanter / Natalie Earl.

It’s worth visiting Château de Jonquières for historical interest alone. Two imposing cylindrical turrets encase the west wing of the château, while the east wing backs onto a wide courtyard. A horseshoe-shaped staircase, framed by a Renaissance-style, arched double balcony, leads from the apartments into the courtyard and is one of the château’s most magnificent architectural masterpieces. Aside from its formidable architecture, the family history of the estate is equally impressive, claiming to have been passed down through 32 generations over 900 years. After François de Cabissole and his wife Isabelle – the 31st generation – restarted vinification at the château in 1992, it is now their daughter Charlotte and her husband Clément who carry the estate’s legacy forward, having taken over the 8ha of vines and production in 2014 and converted the estate to organic.

Guided visits and tastings are available, and there are also four guest bedrooms inside the château itself. Mont Saint-Baudille, the southernmost peak of the Larzac plateau some 15km to the north of Jonquières, gazes down on the village, which is home to some…

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Top 10 Languedoc wineries to visit Top 10 Languedoc wineries to visit *Top 10 Languedoc wineries to visit