: Geography and climate

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The great majority of the Languedoc’s vines (and virtually all of those which have been ripped out recently) are or were planted on the flat, low-lying alluvial plain, particularly in the southern Hérault and Gard. In the northern Hérault and western Aude, however, vines may be planted several hundred metres above sea level, in the foothills of the Cévennes and the Corbières Pyrenean foothills, sometimes at quite an angle and on very varied soils which can include gravels and limestone.

The climate in all but the far western limits of the Languedoc (where Atlantic influence is apparent) is definitively mediterranean and one of the major viticultural hazards is drought. Annual rainfall is often as little as 400 mm/15.6 in by the coast. July and August temperatures often exceed 30 °C/86 °F; such rain as does fall tends to fall in the form of localized deluges. wind is common throughout the growing season, with the tramontane bringing cool air from the mountains.