Designation (also Carthagène) for a sweet and highly alcoholic vin de liqueur(liqueurwine) produced in the French Languedoc Alcohol is added to the unfinished white or red grape must, which has not yet been fermented, thus stopping the fermentation. As a rule, it consists of 80% grape must and 20% brandy. The must must come from at least 50% Grenache Noir(Garnacha Tinta) or Grenache Blanc(Garnacha Blanca). The alcohol content is usually between 16 and 18% vol., the residual sugar content is 150 g/l. Occasionally, various ingredients are used for flavouring, such as vanilla, but no sugar. The Cartagène is drunk as an aperitif or digestif for personal consumption. An application for AOC recognition under the name "Cartagène du Languedoc" was submitted to the INAO in 1989, but this has not (yet) been granted.
There are several versions about the meaning of the name. Allegedly, the name originates from the time of the Second Punic War (219-201 B.C.), when the Carthaginian commander Hannibal is said to have introduced this form of winemaking in the Languedoc after his march across the Pyrenees. According to another version, however, Cartagène has nothing to do with Carthage, but is derived from the way in which the drink is made up of four quarters (1/4 alcohol and 3/4 must) and the verb "cartager", which means "to work the vineyard a fourth time" (although it remains unclear what the frequent working of the vineyard has to do with the mixing ratio). The third version says that "cartager" simply means "quarter".