Languedoc-Roussillon Wine Immersion Study Trip with Matthew Stubbs MW
- Languedoc-Roussillon Wine Immersion Study Trip with Matthew Stubbs MW
- Sun. Jun. 02, 2013 - Fri. Jun. 07, 2013
- Master-Level Programs
June 2-7, 2013
5 days, 5 nights - Limited to 18 participants
Instructor: Matthew Stubbs, Master of Wine
This fascinating wine trip delves deeply into Languedoc-Roussillon’s rich history, diverse landscapes and dynamic wine trade, covering all the major appellations of the Languedoc and the Roussillon. You’ll see first-hand the differences in terroir and visit a wide range of producers (co-operatives, négociants and private domains) to understand how each of them operates. This trip offers an unparalleled opportunity to taste the complete spectrum of wines from sparkling through to fortified and everything in between. Visits to organic and biodynamic estates will also be included, as well as a time in the medieval fortified city of Carcassonne, one of France’s greatest historic sites.
Sunday, June 2
Participants will arrive independently in Montpellier and spend the night at Hotel Eurociel, ideally located in the very center of downtown Montpellier. Arrive early and spend some time in Montpellier, a beautiful city with beautiful architecture and many interesting and historic sites to visit, as well as fine restaurants.
Monday, June 3 - Pic St. Loup, Aniane, Terasses de Larzac (B, L, D)
Meet your instructor for the trip, Matthew Stubbs, MW, at the hotel and start your explorations of the Languedoc vineyards together. You’ll begin with a visit to Pic St. Loup, one of the most northerly appellations of the Languedoc, in the shadow of the mythic Pic St Loup itself, a limestone outcrop that rises to 648m and dominates the vines of this region. Taste at one of the top estates of the appellation (for example, Domaine de l’Hortus). After lunch, move on to Aniane, home village to some of the top estates of the Languedoc-Roussillon. What makes it so special? Experience the terroir of the first self-styled “Grand Crus” of the Languedoc, including a tasting at the renowned estate Mas de Daumas Gassac. Currently one of the most desirable regions of the Languedoc is the Terasses de Larzac. This afternoon we’ll be joined by renowned wine journalist and Languedoc-Roussillon expert Andrew Jeffords. Andrew is quite passionate about the Terrasses de Larzac, and will provide an informative overview of the area as he accompanies us to two of its top estates. We’ll look at the factors which have contributed to its reputation: varied soils, diurnal temperature range, and the influence of Larzac plateau, with a tour and tasting at a fine estate like La Peira en Damaisela. Arrive early evening at your hotel for the rest of the trip, Chateau l’Hospitalet. This beautiful and charming hotel complex is located right in the vineyards of La Clape, overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea. The hotel and wine estate are owned by Gérard Bertrand, the Languedoc-Roussillon’s top négociant. Mr. Bertrand will join you for dinner tonight at the hotel’s excellent restaurant, with a tasting of his finest cuvees.
Tuesday, June 4 - Picpoul de Pinet, Pézénas, Faugères (B, D)
This morning visit the vineyards of Picpoul de Pinet. This flat maritime appellation is the largest white wine AOC of the Languedoc. Visit one of the best co-ops in the region, La Cave de Pomerols (winner of white wine trophy Decanter World Wine Awards 2011), and learn how a cooperative functions, the major differences and priorities with respect to a private domaine. A visit to one of the most recent AOC’s of the Languedoc is next, at a great estate like Domaine de Nizas. Pézénas is the only Languedoc AOC with a predominance of volcanic basalt soil. The town of Pézénas is one of the loveliest and most historic in the region, and features beautiful 16th to 18th century architecture. Enjoy some free time here to see the town and have lunch on your own at one of its many cafés and restaurants. This afternoon, discover the importance of schist in Faugères, a small, high quality appellation based 100% on schist soils, with a visit and tasting to one of its best estates, like Domaine la Sarabande. Then on to Saint Chinian, an appellation divided between clay/limestone and schist soils. What does the influence these two terroirs have on taste of the wines? You’ll find out at a fine estate like Borie la Vitarèle. Return to Chateau l’Hospitalet for another wonderful dinner at their fine restaurant.
Wednesday, June 5 - Corbières, Minervois La Livinière, Carcassonne (B, L, D)
The largest appellation in the Languedoc is the Corbières, ancestral home of the Carignan grape. It is also one of the most varied AOC’s. You’ll explore the differences between Corbières and Corbières-Boutenac and visit/taste at a great estate like Château La Voulte-Gasparets. Your next stop is the first “Cru” appellation of the Languedoc, Minervois La Livinière. This terroir is distinctive from AOC Minervois by virtue of its slopes, altitude and other characteristics of its terroir, which is expressed in the great wines of estates like Borie de Maurel where you’ll meet with the winemaker for a tasting. These vineyards are quite scenic, and you’ll have time to enjoy the surroundings during a picnic lunch in the vineyards today. The most famous historic site in the Languedoc (and indeed in France) is the fortified city of Carcassonne. You’ll have free time on your own this afternoon to visit this perfectly restored walled city and enjoy its museums, medieval streets and shops. Return to the hotel early evening for dinner at the Chateau l’Hospitalet restaurant.
Thursday, June 6 - Côtes de Roussillon Villages, Maury, Rivesaltes, Banyuls (B, L, D)
Head south today to the stunning Roussillon region, and your first stop in Côtes de Rousillon Villages/Maury. Here you’ll discover what makes this area different from the Languedoc as you examine climatic, topographical and terroir differences. How has a region previously famous for Vins Doux Naturels made the transition to dry wines? Why are there so many organic and biodynamic producers here? Find answers to these questions with a tasting at one of the top estates of Maury, like Roc des Anges. Your next stop is in Rivesaltes, the home of Vins Doux Naturels.. Discover why this region is often the first in France to harvest grapes, and what makes the region so suited for fortified wines. Then taste the different types of Rivesaltes - Ambré, Tuilé, reductive versus oxidative styles – at a great producer like Domaine Cazes. After lunch, you’ll follow the Mediterranean coast down to the fabulously beautiful vineyards of Banyuls, the southernmost appellation in France. Experience why Banyuls is one of the most dramatic appellations in France, the significance of its slopes, grey schist soils, and the importance of the Pyrenees and the arid climate on the wines here, with a visit and tasting at an important producer such as Domaine Coume del Mas. Your farewell dinner tonight will be a special treat, as you dine at the acclaimed Michelin starred gastronomic restaurant La Table Saint Crescent in nearby Narbonne.
Friday, June 7 - La Clape, Limoux, Vin de Pays d’Oc (B, L)
Today you’ll get a chance to walk through vineyards of La Clape that surround Chateau l’Hospitalet, with their dramatic views of the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll get a close-hand look at one of the driest and windiest regions of France, one that has jumped from relative obscurity to one of the most reputed in just ten years. Visit Mas du Soleilla, whose vineyards are next to those of l’Hospitalet, to see their operation and taste their sun-drenched wines. Check out of the hotel and travel west to the area of AOC Limoux and Domaine Gayda, one of the leading producers of IGP wines. Here you’ll explore what influences the decision to make IGP (Vin de Pays) instead of AOC, and participate in a fun Team Blending Challenge: three wines and 30 minutes to create your own blend in teams, with prizes for the winning blend. You’ll also enjoy lunch at the estate’s delicious restaurant. Your trip winds down with a group transfer to Toulouse train station/airport.
Legend for meals included in the trip: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
* Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as close as possible to what appears here; however, the final itinerary and estates/winemakers included may vary due to wine producer schedules, availability and factors beyond our control. The wine estates visited during this trip will all be of the highest quality.
Hotel rooms: we are staying in several small, charming hotels on this trip. As a result, the rooms will not all be exactly the same, and they may also be in different categories. We will assign hotel rooms in the order of sign-ups for the trip. ALL rooms will be very comfortable and have the same services (en-suite bathrooms, A/C, WiFi, etc.).
Your 5 Day, 5 Night Immersion Study Trip includes :
- Instruction throughout by Matthew Stubbs, Master of Wine, renowned Languedoc-Roussillon expert and resident of the area
- The complete Languedoc-Roussillon Master Level French Wine Society online course, including the written manual and sitting the online exam
- 1 night at 3-Star Hotel Eurociel in Montpellier, double occupancy
- 4 nights at 3-Star Chateau l’Hospitalet in La Clape (Narbonne Plage), double occupancy
- 4 gourmet dinners with fine wines
- 4 gourmet lunches with fine wines
- 5 delicious breakfasts
- Deluxe air-conditioned motor coach transportation throughout, with bottled water on board
- All professional-level tours and extensive tastings at top-quality wine producers
- The opportunity to share meals with some of the finest wine professionals in the region
- All hotel and other taxes, and gratuities for included restaurants
Enrolled Student Price per person, double occupancy: $3,495**
(Enrolled Student Price is for registrants already fully or partially enrolled in the Sud de France Master-Level program**)
Single Supplement: US $ 250.00
NOTE: There are a limited number of twin rooms available (2 single beds). Please let us know if you’d like to share a twin room with another participant to avoid the single supplement and pay the double occupancy price instead.
Deposit upon reservation: US $ 750.00 (per person, per trip)
Take a second trip, get 5% off!***
**The Enrolled Study Price applies to those currently studying in the Sud de France Master-Level program or who have completed it. Full registration in the region’s Master-Level program means students who have previously ordered the Sud de France Master-Level study manual, exam registration and online study program. Registrants only partially enrolled in the Sud de France Master-Level program with the FWS (eg.: Only have Sud de France manual and exam, or only Sud de France online study program…) will get the Enrolled Trip Price and will be invoiced directly by FWS for the portion of the Master-Level they are missing at a 50% discount on prices listed on the FWS website. If an updated manual is needed, it can be purchased at a 50% discount.
***Get 5% off each additional trip you take, after you reserve the first trip. Discount is calculated on the double occupancy price for the Trip and will be deducted from the final balance payment for the Trip. The most expensive of the trips you reserve will be considered the "first" trip and the 5% discount will be calculated on the other trip(s) you reserve.
Space is limited to 18 participants, so reserve your space today!
You may also find answers to most questions you might have in our FAQ page.
Why study Languedoc-Roussillon in the Languedoc-Roussillon?
The Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest and most dynamic wine region in France. Diverse and fast moving, this is where 2000 years of history and tradition combine effortlessly with the contemporary and the avant-garde. See it first-hand.
Languedoc-Roussillon boasts 1,029 organic wine producers, the highest number of certified organic wine producers in France. It also has the largest certified organic area under vine!
Interestingly, many of its top wines fall outside the AOC category and are labeled IGP or VdP. This has given tremendous credibility to a wine category for which many have had but modest expectations.
Languedoc-Roussillon merits study. It has a lot to teach us about misconceptions and preconceptions…and value at every price point. And as for beauty and a landscape with drama? Priceless.
About your Lead Instructor & Guide: Matthew Stubbs, Master of Wine
Matthew began his career in the UK Wine Trade in 1987 after graduating from University with a language and business degree. He joined Seagram UK, part of one of the world’s largest drinks companies, worked for 2 years in Retail (Oddbins), and later picked up experience in marketing and sales through independent specialist wine merchants, prestige hotels and restaurants and national retailers. He received his MW in 1996.
In January 2001 he left Seagram to head up the Wine Department of Safeway, the UK’s third largest wine retailer. He was responsible for a range of over 900 wines, 500 stores, annual sales of 84 million bottles with a £340m annual turnover. During this time, the company was recognised for having one of the most quality-led and eclectic wine ranges on the UK high street.
He left Safeway in June 2004 to set up his own wine brokering and consultancy company based in the Languedoc. In July 2008 he founded Vinecole, a wine school based near Carcassonne. It was a chance to realize a dream of living not only in France but also working in the most exciting wine region in the world.
Words on Matthew’s teaching style (feedback from some of Matthew's students):
“Incredible local knowledge, clear, concise presentations and quality of wines"
"Matthew’s passion and genuine warmth made the classroom experience wonderful"
"Very good knowledge of region, Matthew is also good at managing various knowledge levels amongst the group"
"Overall one of the best classes/presentations I have attended."
For more information:
To coordinate our immersion study trips and help to make them unforgettable, we have partnered with Veraison Sommelier Consultants, which will operate the tours. Veraison is managed and owned by FWS member Lauriann Greene, Sommelier-conseil, who has many years of experience in organizing exceptional wine tours in France.
Lauriann will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact her:
- via email at
- or by phone at +1-954-903-0589
You may also find answers to most questions you might have in our FAQ page.
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