The Languedoc appellation was introduced in 2007, as a replacement for Coteaux du Languedoc, presumably in an attempt to make the rather complicated hierarchy of AOPs in this huge wine region easier for consumers to understand. Admittedly, the old system probably was a little confusing for the uninitiated, though simple enough, once you got your head around it. Frankly, though, not an awful lot has changed! Basically, AOP Languedoc covers the parts of Languedoc that do not have the benefit of their own distinctive local AOP (Saint-Chinian, Faugeres, Minervois, for instance). Within this AOP, there are various sub-regional AOPs (namely Grès de Montpellier, Pézénas, Sommières, La Clape, Pic Saint-Loup, Terrasses du Larzac, Picpoul de Pinet, Terrasses de Béziers, Montpeyroux and Saint-Georges d’Orques) whose names can be appended to the Languedoc AOP. The confusion doesn't end there, though. For instance, the Saint Georges d'Orques AOP actually lies within the Grès de Montpellier region, whilst Saint Saturnin (which doesn't seem to get a mention in the new rules) is very definitely a recognised sub-regional AOP falling within the Terrasses du Larzac - a sub-reion of a sub-region, if you like. Confused? Join the club!. Not that we want to get too caught up in the regional hierarchy, or pyramid, but the wines from these sub-regions - or "terroirs", as they used to be called - can (and very often do) offer-up some very distinct regional characteristics. Which certainly gives some credence to the way they are designated - even if the new system only serves to confuse matters even more! And there are many styles of wine being made, depending on the terroir and the choice of grape varieties. The main grapes for the red wines are Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault, with Mourvedre also becoming more predominant. Along with the better known (or at least better understood) appellations of Languedoc - such as the afore-mentioned Saint-Chinian, Faugeres, Minervois, etc - AOP Languedoc, in all its various guises, is now producing some of the best wines in southern France.