To say that the Languedoc Roussillon is big is an understatement. It is a HUGE wine producing area, making almost 25% of all French table wine (putting it in to context, that is almost 4 times the whole production of Australia or 30 times the production of New Zealand) - though much reduced from its 1970's production. Large swathes of low quality, over producing rubbish vineyards have been grubbed up, so it is fair to say that what is left is very good.
A large number of local grapes rub shoulders with international vareities such as Chardonnay and Cabernet - with the local grape such as Carignan, Syrah, Grenache red and white, Picpoul, Syrah etc. more suited to the hot summers and harshly cold winters. The soils are varied, with lack of rain an issue, yet while this shortage of water can reduce yields, it can also push up quality. many more internationally trained winemakers are bringing in knowledge and expertise and this is rejuvenating this great region.