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Spotlight on Pic St Loup
a leading Languedoc wine region

I guess all wine geeks have their favourite two or three wine regions – those that they have a special attachment to, for one reason or another.

For me, one of these would have to be Pic St Loup, a commune of the Coteaux du Languedoc, some 20 km inland from Montpellier in the South of France.

I first discovered this region almost by chance, a decade or so ago when I was just getting into wine and happened to be spending a few days at the excellent municipal camping site at St Martin de Londres.

The Montagne de l'Hortus (right) and the Pic St Loup

The landscape here is quite dramatic, with garrigue-like scrubland (the haut garrigue) dominated by two distinctive peaks – the Montagne de l’Hortus and the Pic St Loup itself.

Because the immediate region is the transition point from the coastal plain to the higher, inland plateau, its climate is noticeably cooler than many other Languedoc wine growing regions. 

There are also a range of different microclimates in close proximity, making it possible to ripen the heat-loving Mourvèdre grape in one vineyard area while using the cooler sites to produce elegant, strikingly northern-Rhône-like Syrah (the other key grape here is Grenache, while some Carignan and Cinsault are still grown).

Therein lies the appeal of the red wines from this beautiful rugged region. Typically, they show lots of colour, good concentration and beautiful spicy, meaty, earthy complexity. The wines here normally show more elegance and refinement than those from the hotter Languedoc plains.

Pic St Loup has been buzzing recently – so much so, that it is soon to become an appellation in its own right. There are plenty of ambitious, over-achieving producers here, and in the next few pages I’ll be reviewing just a few of them.

Pic St Loup in figures

  • Size: 13 villages north of Montpellier, stretching 25 km north–south and 10 km east–west

  • Area of production: 1500 hectares, with 800 ha planted to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre

  • Producers: 3 caves co-op, 36 individual producers

Conditions of Production

Coteaux du Languedoc

Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St Loup (since 1994)

AOC Pic St Loup (conditions proposed to the INAO and under consideration)

Principal grapes – Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre

50%, and at least 20% must be Syrah

90%, and at least 20% must be Syrah

90%, and at least 50% must be Syrah

Other varieties – Carignan and Cinsault

50% maximum

10% maximum

10% maximum

Maximum yield

60 hl/ha

50 hl/ha

45 hl/ha

Minimum age of vines

3 years

5 years

Syrah 5 years, Mourvèdre, Grenache 7 years, Carignan, Cinsault 10 years

Minimum degrees of alcohol




Producer reviews


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