Pic Saint-Loup is a sub-appellation of the Languedoc appellation, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. It covers exclusively red and rosé wine made predominantly from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
Carignan and Cinsaut are now limited to only 10 percent in any Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup wine, a much lower representation than in the past. Some of the area’s increasingly respected white wines are sold under the Val de Montferrand IGP title or the generic Languedoc title without the Pic-Saint-Loup appendix.
The appellation takes its name from the distinctive 658 meter (2,150ft) Pic Saint-Loup mountain at its center, a dramatic and clear demonstration of the area’s Jurassic limestone soils. Equally symbolic of the area is the Pic’s counterpart, the Montagne de L’Hortus, a kilometer-long ridge of limestone which rises powerfully up from the garrigue landscape. Not surprisingly, the local vineyards are located at various elevations around the area. Blessed with a choice of mesoclimates, vignerons here may opt to plant heat-loving Mourvedre in the warmer, lower vineyards while using the higher sites to grow a more elegant style of Syrah, which benefits from the cool mountain nights.
With its location 30 kilometers (18mi) from the southern French coast, Pic Saint-Loup’s climate is definitively Mediterranean. There is, however, one distinguishing factor that sets it apart from the wine-growing areas on the lower, flatter coastal plains below. The mountainous topography to the north and east creates relatively cool night time temperatures. This increased diurnal temperature variation is an essential factor in the development of balanced acid and sugar in wine grapes. Pic Saint-Loup wines clearly demonstrate this aspect of their terroir of which is a character they share only with the most prized of Languedoc wines.