The wine appellation of Minervois sits to the north of the famous Canal du Midi, stretching from Carcassonne to Narbonne. The Minervois wine region is one of the more famous sub-regions of the Languedoc, holding official AOC status since 1985.The Minervois appellation spans across approximately 3,400 ha, with 140,000 hl produced annually. Minervois wine is full-bodied made from southern wine grape varietals such as Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. Its made up of many small, independent wine growers who specialise in making intimate productions of high quality, low yield wines. The Minervois wine region lies parallel within a large valley with Montagne Noir to the north and the Pyrenees to the south. This is an area of great natural beauty with many picturesque villages and scenic landscapes.
Wine Production of Minervois Wine
The Minervois region is shaped like an amphitheater bordered by the Canal du Midi and the Montagne Noire. A series of rivers run down the Montagne Noire to create splendid terraces with astounding views. The running water has also shaped Minervois geology. The varied soils of clays, schist and pebbles border the region’s limestone plateaus, creating many micro-climates ideal for growing wine grapes.
The Mediterranean breeze refreshes the vineyards, while high elevations of over 300 metres help the grapes keep their precious acidity as they ripen. With 5,000 hectares of vines under the care of 1,100 talented grape growers, Minervois is a prime source for quality grapes turned into wine by 222 private wine producers and 30 cooperatives.
The region’s quality-oriented wine laws allow for a maximum of 50 hectoliters of wine per hectare, resulting in 155,000 hectolitres of nuanced, concentrated wine with an intricate taste profile. Like most Languedoc regions, Minervois specialises in red wine, comprising 94% of the region’s total output. Elegant rosé wines follow with 4% and fragrant white wines with 2%.
One of the southernmost wine regions in France, Minervois is one of the most prestigious appellations in Languedoc, and despite its long winemaking history, it’s still vibrant and youthful.
Minervois’ specialty is dry red wine, and it’s one of the finest ambassadors for the rustic and hearty style typical in Southern France. Expect black and red fruit aromas, scents reminiscent of earth, leather and game. Fluttering aromas of olives and undergrowth, and a structured palate deliver a long, pleasing finish, always held together by an enticing acidity.
Rosé and white wines are gaining a large fan base thanks to recent investments by progressive winemakers, meaning modern winery equipment and improved vineyard management. These are refreshing, lively wines. Ideal summer wines that are delectable on their own despite being consistent at the table.
The region is also known for their traditional sweet wines or vin deux naturels; these VDN wines, often labeled with their own appellation, Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois, are dessert wines that deliver immense pleasure, despite having lost popularity in recent times.
Minervois La Liviniere, a subregion within larger Minervois, is specialised in dry red wines, and is on par with Minervois finest producers, adding to the region’s diversity.
Minervois champions some of the rarest grapes in Southern France, more often than not, by blending them to create a picture-perfect postcard of the terroir.
Reds and rosés must be made of a minimum of 60% of Grenache, Lledonner Pellut, Mourvèdre and Syrah. These last two must comprise at least 20% of the blend. Other local grapes, including Piquepoul Noir, Rivairenc and Terret Noir, can be included, but they can’t comprise over 10% of the final blend.
Syrah adds red fruit aromas and spices, while Mourvèdre adds acidity to the blend. Together, along with the other regional varietals, Minervois reds are an adequate representation of the region’s sun-bathed garrigues and scorched soils.
White wines must be made with 80% Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Maccabeu, Marsanne, Roussanne and/or Vermentino. Other allowed varieties include Clairette, Muscat, Piquepoul Blanc and Terret Blanc.
The art of blending grapes makes Minervois wines so unique. Each winery’s precise proportion of different varieties is often well guarded and passed from generation to generation.
Buy Minervois Wine from Hourlier Wines
At Pierre Hourlier Wines, we have an exceptional range of some genuinely superb examples of Minervois wines, including rare whites and rosés. Lesser-known regions, such as Minervois, are true gems connoisseurs cherish, but they’re equally exciting for amateur wine enthusiasts. Here are some extraordinary Minervois in our collection:
The astounding, balanced blend of hand-picked Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre is an excellent example of what Minervois reds can be. Ripe blackberries, plums and figs hit the nose, followed by intense aromas of dried herbs de Provence, damp earth and black pepper. The palate is structured and palate-coating, extending long into the aftertaste.
Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah come together for a limited edition label from the talented team at Domaine Sicard. Expect ripe red fruit aromas supported by a firm tannic grip and a pleasing acidity. Earthy and game aromas permeate the mid-palate as this age-worthy wine unfolds slowly as it fades.
This attractive blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah is just irresistible. Sweet cherry and cranberry aromas make the first nose, followed by a pleasant limestone minerality and fluttering aromas of wildflowers. The palate is dry and crisp, making this pink wine a thirst-quenching crowd-pleaser.
What do wines from Minervois taste like?
Red wines from Minervois are bold and structured; ripe red and black fruits merge with earthbound and game undertones for a complex personality that keeps you guessing with every sip.
White and rosé wines are crisp and lean. They’re the very essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle, with white fruit and citrus aromas supported with a gripping acidity.
Which food groups pair well with Minervois wines?
Red Minervois is the ideal partner for hearty meat stews, meat pies, barbecued meat, and slow-cooked preparations. Roasted poultry is appropriate too, and so are Asian-inspired stir-frys and grilled vegetables.
White and rosé Minervois are super aperitifs, perfect for outdoor dining experiences on warm summer days. On the table, they’re compatible with white fish, steamed rice, sushi, sashimi, oysters and light salads.