An introduction to the Minervois and Saint-Chinian wine regions of southern France, and notes on tasting several wines, is included in this Forbes article I just published, titled The Magical Minervois Wine Region Of Southern France. Other pieces I’ve written about the Languedoc include Five Wineries To Remember From The Wilds Of Languedoc, and my Vino Voices post from 10 years ago titled Long Road Through Languedoc.

Mesmerizing dusk colors of Babio

Two other Forbes pieces I recently published are The Challenges And Sixth Sense Of An Armenian Winemaker, and These Siblings’ Wine Brand For China Also Sells Hospitality In France.


For the past six weeks I have lived in the Minervois wine region within the Languedoc region of southern France. I am living in the hamlet, or hameau of Babio, which is too small to be called a village. The population oscillates between 26 and 31.

During that time, family, friends and I have sampled stellar wines with delicious meals.

Below I’ll share a few.


Relais Chantovent—Village of Minerve.

Ancient Minerve—renowned for a 13th century siege
Minerve—small and scenic

Dishes –

Moelleux do cochon, cuisson basse température 24 heures á 64 degrés, jus de thym. Pork tenderloin cooked for 24 hours at 64 degrees Celsius, with thyme juice.

Juicy tenderloin

Wine –

Mas Paumarhel. Mourel Blanc. AOP Minervois.

70/15/15 Roussanne/Grenache Blanc/Vermentino.

Fresh Vermentino

Restaurant Le Thai de Castigno—Village of Assignan.

Assignan village includes a cluster of good restaurants
Alley in Assignan

Dishes –

Som Tom Kaiying—Traditionnelle salade thai, papaye verte, légumes frais et poulet grillé. Traditional Thai salad with papaya, fresh vegetables and grilled chicken.

Fresly prepared by a competent assembly of Thai chefs in a women only staffed restaurant

Khaw Koong Pud Phong Ka-Ri—Sauté de crevettes au curry, pâte de piment, riz au jazmin. Curried sauteed crevettes, pate of pepper, jasmine rice.

Be careful with the hot peppers

Glace lait de coco; ananas au sirop, thé en gelée et chataîgnes d’eau. Coconut milk ice cream with pineapple syrup, tea jelly and water chestnuts.

Pairs well with red wine

Wine –

Château Castigno. Secret des Dieux.

Blend of Grenche and Syrah. AOC Saint-Chinian.

High country delight

Domaine du Sacre Coeur Saint-Jean-de-Minervois. Cuvée Juliette. Vin de France. 2020.

Sweet wine—blend of Colombard and Vermentino.

Sweet beauty!

Cuvée Juliette sweet wine
Gathering of family and winemaker friends …

Restaurant Le Faitout—Town of Berlou,

En route to Berlou through scenic hills

Dishes –

Mise en Bouce –

Mussel, coco and rosemary sensation.

Visual delight and scrumptious

Gigotin de poulet fermier (ferme de la Bosque) farci aux olives de Bize Minervois, crème de poivrons juste grillés. Leg of free-range chicken from the Bosque farm stuffed with olives from Bize Minervois and with cream of freshly grilled peppers.

Free range chicken

Cheeses –

All sorts

Wine –

Domaine Rimbert. Les Travers de Marceau. Saint-Chinian. AOP. 2021.

Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre.

The first time I tasted Languedoc wines was in Bordeaux over ten years ago with an importer who pulled out six bottles. Once was Domaine Rimbert. Still as good!

A Saint-Chinian welcome

Restaurant de La Cave—La Caunette.

Simple and satisfying

Dishes –

Poulet confit, sauce aux champignons et épinards. Chicken confit, mushroom and spinach sauce.

Sunday afternoon fare

Wine –

Château Coupe-Roses. Naturamania. AOP Minervois. 2022.

Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault.

Dark and delicious

Restaurant La Terrasse—Village of Minerve.

Medieval Minerve
Minerve was site of a bloody siege against the Cathars in 1210

Dishes –

Arancini et gaspacho de petit pois. Arancini savory rice balls and pea gazpacho.

Quite the view

Parmentier de canard à l’orange. Orange duck with potatoes.

Mashed potato topping

Panna cotta mangue. Mango panna cotta.

Edible artwork


As sommelier Anne-Sophie Anache said, ‘the Minervois reminds me of the Luberon [of Provence], but before it was so famous.’

This is just a part of the Occitanie province in southern France, which itself is the size of Ireland. There is much to discover, and there is refreshingly little gloss and polish. What you see is what you get.

Vineyards near the hamlet of Babio, Minervois
The Canal du Midi—built in the 1600’s.
Wines here in the Minervois include sparkling
Babio sunset

Thanks for tuning in again!

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