The slopes of the Languedoc are home to France's oldest vines, planted by the ancient Greeks, five centuries before Christ. The Romans developed the region, and the wines, whose praises were sung by Cicero, Columella and Pliny the Younger, were exported in amphoras all over the Mediterranean. Wine production was revitalized by the monastic movements of the Middle Ages, that revolved around the Benedictine and Cistercian abbeys. From the 18th century, the Canal du Midi stimulated trade in the Languedoc's wines, which received AOC approval in 1985. The vines are planted on terroir that dates from the Quaternary period, consisting of pebbles and schist, and which also contain scree from the edge of the limestone plateaus ("causses"). In their youth, the wines of the Languedoc hillsides offer notes of raspberries, blackcurrants, spices and pepper. As they age, they develop aromas of leather, dried fruit, toasted almonds, bay, sage and scents of garrigue.
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