Among the Languedoc-Roussillon red wines, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre are major grapes of the Corbières, Fitou, Faugères and Minervois AOCs. Cinsault is also commonly used in rosé production along with Lladoner Pelut, Picpoul noir, Terret noir, and Grenache. Grenache is also the main grape used in the fortified wines of the Banyuls and Rivesaltes region. The red fortified wines of the Banyuls are made from Grenache grapes and normally have an alcohol level between 16 to 17%.
Chardonnay is a major white grape used in the Vin de Pays d’Oc, others include Chenin blanc and Mauzac. The sweet fortified wines of the Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat de St-Jean Minervois regions are made with Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grapes. In the Muscat de Rivesaltes AOC, fortified wines are made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes. Vins Doux Naturels are ‘naturally sweet’ wines that have been fortified with brandy to stop fermentation, leaving some residual sugar to add sweetness to the finished wine. The majority of Languedoc sweet white wines are made with a variety of Muscat grape.
Languedoc-Roussillon sparkling wines use the chardonnay variety in Crémant de Limoux. Mauzac is the principal grape in the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux.
The five best known appellations in the Languedoc region include Languedoc AOC (formerly known as the Coteaux du Languedoc and which now includes the Roussillon), Minervois AOC, Corbières AOC, Faugères, and Saint-Chinian AOCs. The boundary of the eastern Languedoc with the Southern Rhône Valley wine region was moved slightly in 2004, with the result that Costières de Nîmes AOC is now a Rhône appellation rather than a Languedoc one.
The Languedoc-Roussillon area is home to numerous grape varieties, including many international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay. The traditional Rhône grapes of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, and the white Viognier are also prominent. Some of the oldest vines in France are Carignan grapes. Winemakers often use carbonic maceration to soften the tannins. Other varieties that can be found include Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino, Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, Grenache blanc, Grenache gris and Picpoul.