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A very mixed region with a host of small appellations, making it difficult to find a common thread. In fact, the South-West has every style of wine there is, often unusual and offering good value for money.
It is also like an open-air vine museum on account of the many ancient grape types that are only found in this region these days (more than a hundred of them). They all deliver rustic wines with a good dose of the traditional, all the more so as they go remarkably well with the local cuisine, which has gained its own reputation.
There’s no point in looking for any coherence in terms of climate or geology – it would be a waste of time!
Bringing together the many pieces of this giant puzzle, we arrive at a total planted area of around 50,000 hectares and production of approximately 1,600,000 hl.
There are 25 AOC. The best-known include Bergerac, Cahors, Madiran and Jurançon, which produces magnificent dry and sweet whites.
The main grape types used are: for reds, malbec, tannat, fer servadou, négrette and duras. For whites, there are petit manseng, gros manseng, colombard, len de l’el (‘far from the eye’ in the local dialect) and mauzac.
- 2011: abundant production with high alcohol levels and low acidity. The reds will be ready to drink soon. The whites are full-bodied and expressive.
- 2012: a late, varied vintage. The reds are low in tannin and should be drunk soon. Great dry Jurançons.
- 2013: very successful white wines with plenty of freshness. A more difficult year for reds, although they could reveal some good surprises.
- 2014: paradox of the vintage: whites for racking and reds to be drunk young. The former are sophisticated and dense, while the latter are lighter and fruity. Magnificent sweet wines that combine sugar and acidity.