Number 1: Picpoul de Pinet

When visiting the southern region of France, a noteworthy destination is the Mediterranean. It is highly recommended to indulge in a delectable assortment of fresh oysters or mussels, such as those offered at Le Mas de Cati (, while accompanied by the delightful and crisp Picpoul de Pinet blanc. Although these wines are now popular worldwide, their true essence is experienced in the sun-drenched and saline air of this locale.

Number 2: Limoux

Situated in the western expanse of the Languedoc region lies the relatively cooler AOP Limoux, which is home to some of the finest sparkling wines in France. Blanquette de Limoux, produced using Mauzac grapes, followed by Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, showcases the exceptional winemaking capabilities of this area. Adjacent to the magnificent Carcassonne, visitors are encouraged to explore and savor the remarkable wines produced by Domaine J Laurens (

Number 3: Montpeyroux

Within the tranquil village of Montpeyroux, one can discover awe-inspiring ancient Carignan vineyards, which are renowned in the Languedoc region. While the AOP is open to the influence of the southern Mediterranean, it is nestled beneath Mont Baudille to the north. The vineyards benefit from the refreshing mountain air and higher elevations (100-300m) compared to most other vineyards in the Languedoc. This picturesque countryside is ideal for leisurely walks and exploration of the local history. A must-visit destination in the vicinity is Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Every April, the village hosts a grand wine festival, offering an opportunity to sample and acquire the old vine Carignan from Mas d’Amelie (

Number 4: Maury

During our search for vineyards in 2008, we were captivated by the breathtaking Maury and Agly river valleys. The dramatic landscape, with steep rocky vineyards adorned with ancient Grenache bushvines, immediately stole our hearts. This historical frontier land is imbued with a rich heritage that necessitated its defense. Exploring the Cathar heritage sites, such as the chateaux of Peyrepertuse, Queribus, and Aguilar, can occupy days of exploration. The village of Tautavel, home to the European Prehistoric Centre and Tautavel Man, the oldest man discovered on French soil, lies nearby. And of course, one cannot forget the wines. Mas Amiel ( is a prominent producer known for its exceptional fortified/oxidized Grenache wines, which contribute to the area’s fame. In close proximity, the village of Cassagnes hosts a small yet exceptional producer, Clos 58 ( Lastly, we must mention our esteemed friend Katie Jones, who continues to make a significant impact on the Languedoc wine scene. Her vineyard is consistently one of the finest wine destinations in the south of France (

Number 5: AOP Faugères

Last but certainly not least, we arrive at Faugères. When we set out to explore vineyards in France, we were situated in the Orb Valley, just north of the quaint village of Faugères. Every journey took us through this esteemed Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP), and on our way back, we always made it a point to stop and admire the breathtaking beauty of this place. The gentle undulating countryside showcases schist soils that glisten in the sunlight, while the Cezenne mountains envelop the seven villages of the AOP, protecting the vineyards from the harsh northwesterly winds. This region is truly special in France. The peaceful villages come alive with jubilance during festival season. The ocean is a mere 30 minutes away, and the Orb Valley to the north offers a plethora of activities for both adults and children. Whether it’s kayaking, hiking, or rock climbing, you can conclude your day with the exquisite wines of Faugères as you watch the sun set behind the mountains.

The wines of Faugères rival the exceptional quality found in some of the finest wines from the Rhône Valley. They are characterized by their purity, freshness, and abundance of luscious fruit flavors. The growing conditions here are challenging, as there is no irrigation available. Consequently, the vines must diligently search for water and nutrients in the rocky soils. The results are evident in the spectacular wines of Faugères. There are too many outstanding producers to mention, but one that is definitely worth trying is Château La Liquière ( Additionally, for an exceptional visit, I recommend knocking on Simon Coulshaw’s door at Domaine des Trinités (

Domaine la Sarabande is open every day from 14:00 to 18:00, or you can schedule an appointment. We would be delighted to guide you through our extensive range of wines. Be sure to check out our summer events, which will continue until September (

Stay safe and enjoy your wine-drinking experience.

Cheers, Paul Gordon