The 40 hectare estate of Domaine Cauhapé is the leading light of the appellation of Jurançon in South West France. Jurançon lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees and although the area looks large on a map, the area under vine is in fact tiny, and this is one of the most sizeable domaines here. The grape varieties that dominate here are the two local manseng grapes: gros and petit.
Cauhapé’s owner is Henri Ramonteu. Henri came into the estate unexpectedly when his elder brother was killed in a road accident, but he soon proved to be a capable and forward-thinking vigneron. He was one of the first to create the dry style of Jurançon which now dominates production and from the start set out to make clean, aromatic and fruity wines. He also introduced new oak, which was unheard of...
Harvesting takes place here in stages throughout the Autumn and even through to January of the following year, and in some vintages as many as four sweet whites are made, depending on when the petit manseng grapes were picked and their degree of ripeness and sweetness. It is primarily these luscious, concentrated wines that make this domaine shine. Dry Jurançon is traditionally based on gros manseng, but more reccently Henri has pioneered a more complex interpretation, rich in petit manseng, and part-vinified in new oak.
Overall the quality here is remarkable. The wines possess an inherent poise and balance that set Domaine Cauhapé apart. Henri is active in ensuring that his wines are distributed in prestigious restaurants, and also works closely with other local vignerons to raise the wine profile of the South West.