How to buy wine from the epicentre of French viniculture

Where should you buy wine from if you want a taste of the very origins of French viniculture?

If you guessed the western coast of Bordeaux, you're wrong; it's not the north-western area of Loire; and it's not even the home of sparkling wine, Champagne.

The Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south is probably the closest you will get, as it is home to the ancient port site of Lattara, close to the modern-day community of Montpellier.

Buy wine from this area, and you are buying from a region with the earliest known examples of French viniculture - which researchers suggest may have been created using vines imported from Italy.

Dr Patrick McGovern, director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory, has studied a limestone press and imported Etruscan amphoras found at the site.

He says: "The ancient Etruscans lured the Gauls into the Mediterranean wine culture by importing wine into southern France.

"This built up a demand that could only be met by establishing a native industry."

As we know, the rest is history - and France has gone on to create several world-renowned vineyard regions, with a thriving fine wines industry that continues to please wine-lovers the world over to this day.

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