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Minervois Wine

Minervois is an appellation for distinctive red wines from the western Languedoc in France. In general, they are more supple than those produced in Corbieres, just to the south. The Minervois title also covers rosé and white wines.

The appellation takes its name from Minerve, a village 25 miles (40km) from the Mediterranean coast and surrounded by the southern French foothills. The village, by turn, is named after the Greek goddess Minerva. This is just a glimpse of the town's connections with ancient history; there are cave paintings in the local caves which date back more than 30,000 years, and fossilized footprints have been found which confirm human movements here more than 8000 years ago. The town's wine history is also impressively long; archaeological evidence shows that viniculture here dates back to early-Roman or even pre-Roman times.

Minerve village, Languedoc-Roussillon

The Minervois appellation was granted in 1985 and since then, the local wines have changed dramatically, gaining praise from critics in France and abroad. As with many French appellations, this increase in quality is due to significant investments in winery equipment and improved vineyard management.

The predominant grape varieties used in AOC Minervois wines are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, which must collectively make up at least 60% of the blend, possibly complemented by Carignan and Cinsaut. Bourboulenc. The appellation's white wines, which vary considerably in quality and style, are made from Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. White Minervois Blanc is changing with time, becoming increasingly aromatic and refined.

In addition to dry red and white wines, the area has a historical sweet-wine-making tradition. Sweet, white Minervois Noble, as it is known, does not have its own appellation. It is a golden sweet wine made from the same white grapes as its dry counterparts. The grapes are picked when they have reached a high level of sweetness – either as a result of noble rot or by being dried out manually after picking. Similar in style, Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois (a delicate vin doux naturel) is produced to the north of Minervois.

Full or partial carbonic maceration (up to two weeks) is used for vinifying most Minervois Carignan. Other red wine varieties are traditionally fermented for longer periods, with frequent pumping over or punching down to encourage greater extraction. De-stemming is increasingly being used to reduce the tannin levels in Minervois wines, and the reds are generally aged for at least a year before release. Barrel maturation is becoming more common, but the Minervois name can rarely attract prices to justify the cost of this process.

The appellation is cleanly divided into five climatic zones: the Cotes Noires in the far northwest, located on the coolest, most Atlantic-influenced foothills of the Montagne Noire; La Clamoux, on alluvial terraces and flatter land in the southwest towards Carcassonne; La Zone Centrale, in the middle of the appellation, at an altitude of around 1200ft (400m); La Causse, on high land and poor, dry soils in the northeast, where yields are lowest; and Les Serres, in the warmest, most Mediterranean southeast.

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Here are some wines produced in this region.
Wine Name
Grape 
Popularity
Bonfils Chateau Millegrand Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $11 2010
Bonfils Chateau Millegrand Minervois Cuvee Mourral Grand Reserve, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $15 2379
Chateau de Paraza Cuvee Speciale, Minervois, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $11 5612
Massamier La Mignarde Minervois La Liviniere Domus Maximus, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Grenache - Syrah $42 8178
Chateau Portal Minervois Cuvee Jerome Portal Vieilles Vignes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $13 9740
Chateau Maris Minervois Organic Syrah, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Syrah $15 10001
Chateau d'Oupia Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $11 10140
Gerard Bertrand Chateau Laville Bertrou Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $13 10140
Chateau du Donjon Minervois Cuvee Grand Tradition, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $13 10445
Chateau Coupe-Roses Minervois La Bastide, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $13 10541
L'Ostal Cazes Minervois La Liviniere Estibals, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $13 13286
Chateau Portal Minervois Cuvee Haute Expression, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $11 14041
L'Ostal Cazes Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $25 15235
Chateau Sainte Eulalie Minervois La Liviniere La Cantilene, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $18 15682
Gerard Bertrand Minervois La Liviniere Le Viala, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $51 16210
Chateau de Serame Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France N/A $17 16516
Les Hauts de Mourral Minervois Selection Parcellaire, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Grenache - Mourvedre - Syrah $20 18272
Abbotts & Delaunay Minervois Cumulo Nimbus, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Syrah $25 18392
L'Oustal Blanc Minervois La Liviniere Prima Donna, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $35 18598
Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois Les Carretals, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $35 19253
Benjamin Darnault Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $13 20176
Hecht & Bannier Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Carignan - Grenache - Syrah $20 20246
Chateau Maris Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon, France N/A $15 20741
Domaine La Tour Boisee 'Chateau Tour Boisee' Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Southern Rhone Red Blend $8 21246
Domaine Borie de Maurel Minervois Sylla, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Syrah $34 21510
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