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The Society's Côtes de Gascogne 2019

White Wine from France - SW France (excl. Bordeaux)
This ever popular wine from south-west France is a fruity, thirst-quenching white that has just a hint of roundness on the finish. Light and easy enough to be enjoyed on its own, this is the consummate party white.
is no longer available
Code: FC38531

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 2 - Dry
  • Colombard
  • 10.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Drinking now
  • Screwcap

South-West France (ex Bordeaux)

Most of the wine regions representing the south-west of France are linked by river to Bordeaux and were once rivals of the Bordelais for trade. It was certainly not unknown for some of these wines to be brought to Bordeaux in order to stiffen the sinews of some of the thinner clarets in days gone by. However, there is more to the region than those appellations and the Vins de pays/ IGPs up-river of their erstwhile rival.

The south-west can be roughly compartmentalised in to four categories, as follows:

Bergeracois: running along both banks of the Dordogne River and including Bergerac, Monbazillac and other ACs where Bordeaux varieties proliferate, ably and interestingly supported by some local varieties.

Garonne: running along both banks of the River Garonne as far as Agen and featuring Côtes-de-Duras, Côtes-du-Marmandais, Buzet.

Haut-Pays: the area north and north-west of Toulouse including Gaillac, Cahors and the Côtes-du-Frontonnais.

Pyrenees: in the area between Adour and the Pyrenees. ...
Most of the wine regions representing the south-west of France are linked by river to Bordeaux and were once rivals of the Bordelais for trade. It was certainly not unknown for some of these wines to be brought to Bordeaux in order to stiffen the sinews of some of the thinner clarets in days gone by. However, there is more to the region than those appellations and the Vins de pays/ IGPs up-river of their erstwhile rival.

The south-west can be roughly compartmentalised in to four categories, as follows:

Bergeracois: running along both banks of the Dordogne River and including Bergerac, Monbazillac and other ACs where Bordeaux varieties proliferate, ably and interestingly supported by some local varieties.

Garonne: running along both banks of the River Garonne as far as Agen and featuring Côtes-de-Duras, Côtes-du-Marmandais, Buzet.

Haut-Pays: the area north and north-west of Toulouse including Gaillac, Cahors and the Côtes-du-Frontonnais.

Pyrenees: in the area between Adour and the Pyrenees. Here you will find Côtes de Gascogne, Madiran, Jurançon, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Irouléguy, the latter of which is in real Basque country in the foothills of the Pyrennes, close to the Bay of Biscay.

The influence of the Atlantic Ocean is surprisingly strong even this deep inland and it merges with continental and alpine elements across such a large area to provide moist spring weather and wet winters counterbalanced by hot summers and long, sunny autumns just as the grapes are ripening. Naturally, the area is great enough in size for the soils to be incredibly varied across it. Alluvial and marine soils, often gravel and limestone respectively, are common factors in many areas, the former often on rising terraces above rivers or ancient watercourses.

In many appellations and IGPs it has taken the dynamism of forward thinking, passionate cooperatives and visionaries to save the vineyards and indigenous grape varieties of these regions from serious neglect or even extinction. The devastation of phylloxera around the end of the 19th century was particularly bad in these areas and it was not really until the 1970s, and even later in some cases, that a turnaround in fortunes occurred. The roll call of local varieites is impressive and promising – abouriou, arrufiac, baroque, duras, fer servadou, jurançon noir, len de l’el, petit manseng, gros manseng, mauzac, négrette, tannat and peiti courbu. It is a region that should make a curious wine lover’s mouth water.
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Les Domaines Grassa

The brilliant and innovative Yves Grassa has been at the forefront of modernising his family business which was founded in 1912. It was his father Pierre, originally from Spain, who laid the foundations for what is now the largest independent viticultural estate in France, with over 1000 hectares. Yves’ stroke of genius was to make table wine from grapes destined for distillation into Armagnac when sales of the latter had fallen, taking advantage of new vin de pays provisions to introduce a host of popular new grape varieties including chardonnay, sauvignon and semillon.

At their property, Château du Tariquet, Grassa specialise in whistle-clean, aromatic and fruity whites and rosés, designed to be drunk young. The Society first bought Côtes de Gascogne from Grassa in the early 1980s and was one of the first to ship this wine to the UK. It has since become a perennial own-label favourite with members as an all-round party wine for any occasion. The more recent Voil’à, range, with screwcap closures and lower alcohol levels, are perfect picnic wines.

Of course, the Grassas have not abandoned making Armagnac at all and produce a selection of distillations that do the region proud at all levels, including aged examples that are perfect gifts for birthdays.

More recently Yves has given charge of the French business over to his sons Rémi and Armin and is working on creating a new vineyard in Romania. That too could be something to watch!

2019 vintage reviews
2018 vintage reviews
2017 vintage reviews

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