Saint Chinian (34 Hérault, Occitanie) is a bustling Languedoc wine village, dating back to the 9th Century when a monastery was founded by Saint Anian, on the site of what today is the Town Hall or Mairie. The monastery prospered and with it the village that had grown up around it. The community survived the Albigensian Crusades relatively unscathed and by the 17th and 18th centuries the town had become a centre for the manufacture of high quality cloth. During the French revolution the abbey was dissolved and its buildings put to new uses.
The beaches of the Mediterranean are only about 25 miles away and the river Orb at Roquebrun (also a good cooperative wine cellar Cave de Roquebrun), the river Cesse at Bize are beautiful spots to enjoy the water and the landscapes of the Haut Languedoc (Parc naturel régional du Haut-Languedoc). Nearby attractive Cessenon-sur-Orb offers canoeing and kayaks.
Saint Chinian is one of the classic wines of the Languedoc. Rich reds, typically a blend of syrah, grenache, and carignan grapes these were originally typical bulk Languedoc wines, but many growers using modern techniques and great skill can now produce wines of real quality such as Clos Bagatelle, just north of the village on the D612. There are also numerous co-operative wine cellars and a Wine Shop (Maison des Vins) in the heart of the village (in Avenue Charles Trenet), showcasing many of the area’s producers.
Saint Chinian is quite a small village, but a variety of holiday accommodation is on offer including the apartments at Maison de la Place – Situated in the heart of Saint-Chinian, these stylish, spacious and sunny (mostly south facing) apartments, converted in late 2007, provide free high-speed broadband WiFi internet access, air conditioning, as well as English and French TV and radio, and yet retain some of the original features of one of the oldest buildings in this lively, historic wine village. Their mostly sunny open aspect and large windows directly overlook the large village square with its thriving twice-weekly markets (Thursday and Sunday mornings). Plenty of free, safe parking is available right outside the property.
For places to stay in and around Saint Chinian including self-catering and hotels
The local producers’ cooperative in the village of Roquebrun was formed in 1968, and today they enjoy their own sub-appellation of St-Chinian, essentially all to themselves. The wines are made using semi-carbonic maceration, for a freshly aromatic style. A deep, lustrous and inky colour, the wine has a nose of crushed red fruit, wild herbs and a hint of smoke. The palate is rich and ripe, with a supple tannic structure and multi-layered texture. Pair with any hearty and robust dish, such as spicy liver meatballs.
airport: Monpellier Mediterranée MPL (62 miles/ 100 km)
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