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St Jean de Minervois
Minervois
Les Routes de Vins - Le Minervois, en français
In front of one of the natural bridges, Minerve
click for IPIX view

T
he plateau of the Minervois forms a vast amphitheatre, bordered by the Canal du Midi to the south and the Montagne Noire to the north, stretching from the Heights of Narbonne to the gates of Carcassonne. From the medieval village, an historical site of worldwide renown, one surveys all the many villages that make up this land of vines and olive-trees. The rivulets Clamoux, Argent Double, Ognon and Cesse, running down from the Montagne Noire towards the Aude, have carved out a whole series of terraces of shale, sandstone, schist, limestone or white marble.
vineyard
The region was populated by troglodytes in the mists of prehistory, then successively colonised by Iberians, Greeks and Romans. Vines were originally only planted in the plain then spread into the Upper Minervois some centuries later, when the region was repopulated by monks. In the 17th century, the economy of southern France was in full expansion with the great engineer Pierre-Paul Riquet (born in Béziers) constructing the Canal du Midi and opening up trade to and from the area. In all the villages it served, wharfs and warehouses bear witness to the new commerce that this important thoroughfare brought in its wake.

A.O.C. MINERVOIS The vineyards of the Minervois extend over 4500 hectares cultivated by 180 individual concerns and 35 co-operatives.

The further one penetrates into the interior of the district, the more the Mediterranean influence diminishes, and the dominantly dry climate gives way in the west to Atlantic influences bringing a marked increase in humidity. The various different estates are at altitudes that vary between 50 and 500 metres, leading to a tremendous difference in ambient temperatures. Within each climatic zone there are further microclimates determined by their specific topographical character and by the precise composition of the soil.
AOC in red, rosé or white

The red wines when young are elegant and full-bodied with bouquets of blackcurrant, violet, cinnamon and vanilla. When matured, they acquire hints of leather, fruit comfits and prunes. The tannins are silky, the wine full and long in the mouth.
The rosés are best drunk young and have a bouquet of small wild red fruit. Initially nervous in the mouth, they do nevertheless develop a certain robustness and body that renders them longer.
The white wines, according to which zone has produced them, are variously rounded or fine, long in the mouth, with a bouquet of citrus and exotic fruit and, variously fresh, lively or nervous, all have a pronounced floral tone.
The "Minervois nobles", liqueur wines, have a bouquet of honey, lime-trees and white flowers. In the mouth, the fine balance of alcohol, acidity and sugar results in a remarkable complexity.

Tower, Minervois
THE WINE-TRAIL THROUGH THE MINERVOIS
"La route des chateaux et des caves": From Trèbes to Caunes-Minervois
"La route du silence": Between Trèbes and Puichéric - from La Redorte to Homps and from Olonzac to Somail
"La route de l’olive et du muscat": From Sallèles to Saint Jean de Minervois
"La route de l’art roman": From Pouzols to La Caunette, from Minerve to Cesseras and from Siran to Caune-Minervois.

MINERVE


A jutting outcrop of burnished stone blotted against the blue of the sky, perched like the ark of the deluge on the spur of a plateau, precarious on the brink of the twofold precipice of the Cesse and of the Brian, a village above and beyond the world, ruling with fierce pride over a desert of brush and stones, scarred with gorges, pitted with caves, dotted here and there with ancient dolmens and isolated farmsteads, a steep steppe where the sun strikes, incandescent, against the dreaming spires and where the cruel light plays strange tricks upon the eyes - mirages that recall to life the hunters of prehistory, the march of Roman legions, the sly shades of visigothic archdeacons and of rapacious feudaries, the fearful fires of a vengeful Simon de Monfort and the horrors of charring human flesh and yet, through the clouds of acrid smoke one can, it seems, descry the dulcet features of fair young damsels, sprung from the lays of Ramon de Miraval, and, in their midst, the manly form of Raymond Roger Trencavel.
(Adapted from Maurice Chauvet. Translation by David Bond. cf original.)

Guided tours round the cité of Minerve
MUSÉE ARCHÉOLOGIQUE ET PALEONTOLOGIQUE

Telephone 04 68 89 47 98 / 04 68 91 22 92

MUSÉE HUREPEL
: Reconstruction of the cathar period, figures and miniature models.
Telephone. 04 68 91 12 26

SYNDICAT D’INITIATIVE de MINERVE

Telephone 04 68 91 81 43
Chapitelle, St Jean de Minervois

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Summary:
1 The Natural Regional Park of Upper Languedoc
2 The Sidobre
3 The Montagne Noire (Dourgne, Sorèze...)
4 Mazamet and region
5 The Monts de Lacaune - Brassac du Tarn
6 The Lakes and the Salvetois
7 The Valley of the Thoré
8 The Montredonnais

  9 The Valleys of the Orb and the Jaur
10 The Saint-Ponais
11 The Monts d'Orb

Following the wine trail:
12 The Faugérois
13 The Minervois
14 The Saint-Chiniannais
360° images
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360°° Images for virtual tours
   
   
© Photography, Thomas Hallbert.
© English translation, David Bond.
© 2000-2008 vivrehautlanguedoc

thomas@idaeus.com