Wine. Food. Merriment. And a touch of southern French sun.

That just about sums up this episode.

We’re exploring Occitanie – the sun-kissed southern French region that stretches from the western Rhone through Languedoc and Roussillon into South West France.

Taken as a whole, it’s the world’s largest vineyard and makes around 5% of global wine output.

In the past, these regions have been criticised for focusing on quantity over quality and being out of touch with the modern wine world.

But things have changed significantly in recent decades, as the vineyard has been drastically shrunk and successful producers have focused on quality, innovation, value, indigenous varieties and the future.

And that’s not all this part of the world is known for. It also boasts a mighty fine gastronomic scene. 

So yes, you guessed it: we couldn’t resist. 

In this episode we’re serving up six dishes inspired by southern French ingredients: mushroom arancini, Mediterranean shellfish stew, cod with beurre blanc and winter ratatouille, Toulouse sausage casserole, duck shepherd’s pie and Roquefort.

Then we find Occitanie wines to pair with those different dishes, neatly illustrating the diversity of the region in the process, from elegant sparkling wine to lusciously sweet Vin Doux Naturel via a brand new style of Picpoul de Pinet that we didn’t know about.

Along the way we hear from expert Matthew Stubbs MW plus growers Jean-Claude Mas (Les Domaines Paul Mas) and Pauline Nadal (Domaine Nadal Hainaut).

Somehow we touch on manure, fried brians (yes, you read that right), Asterix, bootcamps, wines with soul and a nitrogen generator.

Thanks to the Occitanie Region for sponsoring this podcast. 



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The following are Occitanie wines we tasted in December 2023.

Selected UK stockists are included where appropriate – often with the best price available:

  • Sieur d’Arques Crémant de Limoux Blason Rouge Brut NV, 12.5%
  • Villa Blanche Terret Blanc 2022, Côtes de Thau, 12.5% (£9.49, Waitrose)
  • Roc des Angles Llum 2022, Côtes Calanes, 12.5% (£26.20, VINVUM)
  • Les Vignerons de Florensac Picpoul de Pinet Selection 2020, 13% (From £17.99, Wickhams)
  • Mas Bécha Hipgnosis 313 2021, Côtes du Roussillon, 13.5%
  • Laurent Miquel Albariño Lagrasse 2022, Aude, 12.5% (from £10.50, Sainsbury’s)
  • Château Estanilles Vallongue rosé 2022, Faugères (£17.25, Yapp)
  • Château Escabes Braucol 2022, Gaillac, 14%
  • Domaine de la Borie Blanche Terroirs d’Altitude 2021, Minervois La Livinière, 13.5%
  • Calmel & Joseph Les Terroirs La Fabrique 2021, Côtes du Brian, 14.5% (£14.50, Seven Cellars)
  • Fontarèche Vieilles Vignes 2022, Corbières, 13.5% (£13.50, Noble Green)
  • Mas Conscience La Conscience 2020, Terasses du Larzac, 15%
  • Clos d’Elpis Elpis Route 2021, Côtes Catalanes, 15%
  • Grande des Pères 2015, Hérault, 13.5%
  • Domaine de Rancy Rivesaltes Ambré Vin Doux Naturel 1998, 18% (£22 for 50cl, The Wine Society)

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