Wine appellations are like football teams. There are a few world-famous teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, of whom even people with only a passing interest in the sport will probably have heard. Their vinous counterparts would be regions like Bordeaux, Champagne and Rioja, or specific brands like Chateau Latour and Dom Perignon.Then there are the rest: football teams like Fulham – the one I loyally support – and Minervois – the southern French region where I am involved in producing wine.
It would be an unusually keen soccer fan in Italy or Germany who would even have heard of Fulham, and the chance to buy tickets for a match between my team and Brentford, a nearby and similarly less-than-starry outfit would fill them with no excitement at all. The parallel event in the world of wine might be a comparative tasting of Carignan-based wines from Minervois and its neighbour, Corbières.
Just as there are apparently 7,000 football teams in England, there are probably a similar number of wines produced every year by the Languedoc Roussillon region’s 3,120 vignerons. Most of these producers would be as focused on the appellation in which they happen