Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Minervois, improving western languedoc appellation for characterful reds, generally suppler than those from corbières to the south, together with some rosé and a little white, whose total vineyard area had fallen to 3,245 ha/8,015 acres produced on varied inland terrain in the Aude and eastern Hérault départements (see map under languedoc). The appellation takes its name from the village of Minerve, scene of one of the bloodiest sieges of the Cathar sect in the 13th century. There is considerable archaeological evidence that the Romans practised viticulture here. Cicero records the dispatch of wine to Rome from the pagus minerbensis, and La Livinière, the first Minervois village to be accorded its own appellation, Minervois-La Livinière is said to take its name from cella vinaria, Latin for ‘wine cellar’. More recently, the vineyards of Minervois were invaded first by phylloxera and then by the carignan vine, which is no longer permitted in aoc wines.