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Saint-Chinian AOC

© Office de tourisme du Canal du Midi au Saint Chinian

Appellation area

The vines of the Saint-Chinian appellation are arranged in a spectacular fashion between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains. The appellation lies in the Hérault region, to the north west of Béziers, on either sides of the Orb and Vernazobre rivers, and against the backdrop of the Mont Caroux mountain. The Saint-Chinian appellation covers twenty towns and stretches over 3,300 ha of plots of land at an altitude of between 100 and 400 m. With production of 135,000 hl per year, mainly of red and rosé, it is the fourth largest appellation in Languedoc-Roussillon.

The appellation towns are:


The Orb and Vernazobre rivers flows through the terroir (vineyard terrain), dividing it into two areas. To the north is schist and sandstone terroir which represents 2/3 of the appellation area. These schist soils have been developed on the primary rocks of the Montagne Noire. To the south of the river are clay-limestone soils. The vineyards have been formed on limestone sediment deposited during the marine transgression of the Mesozoic Era.


Sheltered from the rain by the majestic Mont Caroux mountain, the Saint-Chinian appellation benefits from a mild Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and infrequent rain showers.

Main grape varieties


Production is currently 89% red wine, 10% rosé wine and 1% white wine.


The family of wines from the Saint-Chinian appellation falls into two categories. The schist soils of the northern part of the appellation area produce wines that are fruity, full-bodied and generous, while the wines from the clay-limestone soils and their patchwork of small terroirs are distinctive, with a long finish and lots of character. In terms of young red wines, these are mainly characterised by aromas of red fruits, raspberry, blackcurrant and spices (laurel and pepper). The more mature wines have aromas of cocoa, roasted coffee, brandied fruits and jammy red fruits.

Wine pairings

Reds: red meat, poultry, game, strong-flavoured cheeses.

Rosés: cured meats, poultry, white meat.

Whites: fish


Since 4 February 2005, two regional appellations have been used in order to highlight the excellence and typicity of Saint-Chinian appellation wines:

            Saint-Chinian Berlou, with a surface area of 250 ha on southern-facing schist soils

            Saint-Chinian Roquebrun, with a surface area of 400 ha on schist soils.


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