A Quartet of Wines from Southwest France


We recently did a winetasting in VINO, featuring 4 interesting wines from southwest France.

Marcillac, Domaine du Cros

The appellation of Marcillac is found in the western part of Auvergne, nestled in the mountain range known as the Massif Central. Philippe Teulier’s vines lie at elevations as high as 450 meters on a few different steep, rocky hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux. Much of his vineyard is terraced and the soil is an iron rich clay known locally as “rougier” with outcroppings of limestone. His wines are made from one grape type, the local grape of Marcillac, Fer Servadou”.  The 2014 is masculine, quite savory in its core, interesting & really delivers for the dollar.

Cahors, Chateau La Grave

Deep in the southwest of France, amidst dramatic rock formations and cliffs, the Lot River slowly snakes its way along the valley floor, coiling covetously around the charming town of Cahors. A.O.C. Cahors is known as the “black wine” of the Southwest—the deeply inky, earthy wines–is also the birthplace of Cot, the grape more commonly known as Malbec”. Here is a new project for the Bernède family –100% Malbec from a vineyard right down the road. “It is increasingly rare to see a Cahors, which consists exclusively of the native Malbec, or Côt, as it is locally known. Without any Merlot to soften it, this Cahors is decidedly old-fashioned, with a deep black robe and earthy, chewy tannins to frame the ripe, juicy fruit that seems to jump out of the glass”.  As far back as I can remember, Cahors was readily referred to as black wine, so on this day I expected it to be dark & impenetrable.  It was not, although it was still very masculine, savory, structured & virile with lots of earth, spice & mojo.  This is another wine which really over delivers for the dollar.

Irouléguy, Domaine Arretxea

Irouleguy is one of the smallest appellations in southwest France. It is surrounded on three sides by Spain, France and the Basque, which at least partially explains its unique foods, wines & sub-culture. “The majority of their eight hectares are planted to the native grape varietals, Tannat for the red. The sandstone soils of Irouléguy are ideal for these grapes because they are streaked with iron oxide, mica, silica, limestone, clay, and dolomite. The mineral diversity lends an intensity to the wines, making them wild, earthy, tannic, and rich in spicy aromas. Full southern exposure allows the Riouspeyrous to achieve ripeness in these cooler climate vineyards. They vinify each terroir individually through traditional vinification methods.” This is a hearty, robust, masculine red wine, one not for the feint hearted or those looking for New World fruit bombs.

Jurançon, BruBaché

A VERY unique & special white wine produced from “10 hectares of terraced schist & limestone vineyards along steep slopes surrounded by breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains that crown the Basque country. This is Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng, all biodynamically farmed”.

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