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The Plaimont co-op of south-west France has made a name for itself by rediscovering virtually lost grape varieties. This full-flavoured white uses local gros manseng, courbu and arrufiac grapes to create a versatile, food-friendly wine with hints of grapefruit and a touch of honey.
Product Code: FC37231
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There is an ancient tradition of winemaking in Gascony but by the third quarter of the 20th century the vast majority of the wine made there was destined to be distilled into the region’s distinctive brandies, which was not always a profitable business for most growers, though it has seen a recent resurgence. When the spirit market became depressed in the wake of the oil crisis of the early 1970s there was a need to consider other outlets for the grapes, and this is where André Dubosc came in. As a native of the area and a man of great determination and vision, he set about changing the way he and his fellow growers perceived their terroir and their grapes.In 1979 he persuaded three co-operatives, those of Plaisance, Aignan and Saint-Mont, to join forces in a merger that was named Plaimont Producteurs. The name was taken from the three constituents (PL-AI-MONT) and the aim was to provide growers with a fair deal and to market the wines with more professionalism. Their success in doing both led to three more co-operatives coming into the fold in 1999.They now represent 98% of total Saint-Mont production, and nearly half of all the production in Côtes de Gascogne, Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Over 1,000 growers contribute their fruit to the co-op and adhere to strict rules and supervision over their combined 5,300 hectares of land. Payment for the grapes that come in to the winery are higher for better-quality fruit, which incentivises growers to give their best. André Dubosc was also keen to retain, and where necessary to recover, local varieties like petit courbu and pinenc and they have contributed uniquely to the flavours and character of the wines. Research continues into other varieties.As the co-operative moves into the future following Andre Dubosc's retirement, they have sometimes struggled to maintain the trajectory set for them by their mentor and The Society only buys when we are sure that the quality is good.
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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Platinum 1st Oct 2019
"It's always tempting
to stick with familiar names. However, it's in the obscure places that you find
bargains with exciting flavours. The zesty ripe orchard fruit intensity of Les
Vignes Retrouvées comes from the local grape varieties gros manseng, petit courbu
and arrufiac, grown in Saint-Mont, Gascony. It's a great alternative to New
Zealand sauvignon as an aperitif or with fish and seafood, barbecued vegetables
or lightly-spiced chicken. - Joanna Simon"
The Guardian 24th Aug 2019
"Exotically fruity but
dry blend. - Fiona Beckett"
"This is a lovely fresh wine served ice cold on a warm summer's evening. I think there's a definite bit of lemon peel alongside the honey."
Ms Sally Semple (02-Jul-2019)
"An extra half star for value. I love these white wines from SW France, lots of sharp grapefruit flavours and other citrus notes. Serve ice cold in summer, very enjoyable "
Ms Lisa Harlow (01-Jul-2019)
"I think this is superb. The combined flavour of the three unusual grapes is just lovely. Plenty of body but not at all cloying and with a delightful fresh zing. I have reordered once and will certainly buy more."
Mr John Woodhead (04-May-2019)
"I gave a very postive review of the 2012 vintage when tasted in 2014. This 2016 is not of that standard in my view, although perfectly drinkable, especially with food. The grapefruit is still there, and (now) distinct lemon, giving greater acidity and less honey-sweetness. The length is markedly less and more one dimensional."
Mr Terence Eastham (06-Mar-2019)
jamessuckling.com (30th May 2019)
quince, apricot and citrus fruit, supple texture and zingy acidity – the latest
vintage to be released of an old favourite from one of France’s least
well-known appellations, Saint-Mont in Gascony, southwest France. Here the
admirable quality-focused Plaimont co-operative specialises in rediscovering
and restoring production of old, indigenous grape varieties, both red and white
– in this case white gros manseng, petit courbu and arrufiac – and hence the
wine's name Les Vignes Retrouvées, ‘recovered vines'. It's dry and unoaked and,
while it's a perfect aperitif, it's an adaptable food wine: good with fish and
sea food, cheeses, including goats' cheese, tomato dishes, and vegetables such
as roast red peppers and beetroot. You could also have it with well-flavoured,
herby or lightly spicy chicken. Great value. - Joanna Simon"
Manchester Evening News (15th Mar 2019)
consortium of producers makes some terrific wine in this south west corner of
France. This is a nice alternative for people who love the vibrant
mouth-filling energy of Kiwi sauvignon blanc. However, this is made from gros
manseng, arrufiac and petit corbu which are native to Gascony and seen rarely
elsewhere. Careful vinification ensures a fresh grapefruit character offset by
a honeyed palate. This is perfect for seafood dishes, salads and goat's cheese. - Andy Cronshaw"
"Colour: Bright, pale straw with a noticeable green tinge.
Aroma: Intense, floral and smoky. Grass, green herbs, lemon, grapefruit, ripe tropical fruit and apple.
Taste: Medium-full bodied, soft acidity, ripe creamy mouth-filling texture. Grapefruit flavour but also a toastiness with a strong somewhat bitter after-taste.
Overall: Just ok in my opinion. Seems a bit heavy, maybe needs more acidity. I do like the bitter-sweet taste however, certainly different. If you want to try something new this is a good choice, a midweek wine, good value, just not memorable."
Mr Gabriel Higgins (20-May-2018)
"Rich and full flavoured. Grapefruit and vanilla with a 'Burgundian' whiff. Tastes like a more expensive wine."
Mr Alan Kingsbury (26-Feb-2018)
Hampstead & Highgate Express (29th Apr 2018)
"… splendid, and
exceptionally good value. - Liz Sagues"
Liverpool Echo (13th Mar 2018)
"This is a blend of
three local grape varieties - gros manseng, courbu and arrufiac - from Gascony,
the south-west of France. The grapes are grown on three terroirs which add
nuances and character to the wine. The gros manseng sat on its lees for up to
eight months to add complexity. The result? A wine with delightful aromas -
grapefruit, lime, honey - and a gorgeous lift of acidity balanced by a spike of
citrus. - Jane Clare"
"This has become one of our regulars. We tried it by chance and very glad we did. It's a good robust country wine at a very reasonable price. Very drinkable and goes well with most foods (eg barbecued meat balls). It's an excellent wine for drinking on summer nights."
Mr Charles Rush (11-Jan-2018)
"Tastes much fresher than its three years. The WS description is very accurate especially the grapefruit flavour. Very versatile on its own or with a wide range of food. Any member planning a wedding should consider this."
Raymond A Fulton (16-Oct-2016)
"An interesting old-fashioned alternative to sauvignon blanc and albarino. Definitely has that grapefruit and gorse and at under £8 it's the perfect wine for fish and chips."
Mr Steve Neal (08-Sep-2016)
"Unlike other members, my wife and I were very disappointed in this wine, finding it sharp and aggressive and rather unpleasant. The initial sip gave hints of fruit and richness, but those positives soon faded. It has been put to one side to use for cooking but I'm not even sure it'll do for that."
Mr Timothy P Stockil (10-May-2016)
"TWS review is spot on - genuinely there are notes of grapefruit & a touch of honeycomb that reminds me of Chenin blanc. I also picked up spring flowers & gorse. VERY good indeed, quite complex and on a par with a premier cru Chablis so an absolute steal at the price. Definite re-order."
Mr Tim Potts (22-Apr-2016)
"If you want a refreshing but flavourful good value white, then this is for you - fruity, tangy, but dry and lots of flavours in harmony. As it says, excellent with prawns, but would also be good with paella, white meat, or at the other end of the scale (as we have just proved) trout."
Mr Philip Kirkley (25-Nov-2015)
"I have to agree with the previous entries. I used to drink a Saint Mont from a competitor but it disappeared a while back. This one is a great example. Lively, loads of fruit and a long finish. Agree that it needs to be well-chilled. Great value and makes a great aperitif."
Mr Arthur Butler (29-Nov-2014)
"The w/e papers bought this to my attention and I was tempted to give it a go after a promising write up and especially as it comes in under £8 per bottle! Very pleasing indeed, the grapefruit and honey is certainly there, but it is the never ending aftertaste that impresses the most. A slight dry sharpness soon gets overtaken by the marked white fruit and seems to have a very slight fizz; no oak by the way. The W.S. have a knack of finding 'off the beaten track' local, well made wines. The south of France sun helps everything along! Needs a good chill. Recommended, will be reordering!"
Mr Terence Eastham (24-Nov-2014)
"If you ever needed convincing that membership of the Society is a good thing, here is the evidence. This producer makes huge amounts of sound but plain wines but the Society gets hold of this real gem, made from historic indigenous varieties of which you may not have heard. Something similar was offered last year under a different label and I am delighted that this is up to the mark. Full and versatile, recommended."
Dr Robin W D Mitchell (18-May-2014)
The Lady (5th Dec 2014)
mouth-watering, with flavours of grapefruit, honey and herbs. - Henry Jeffreys"
The Daily Telegraph (11th Oct 2014)
"Trust The Wine
Society to have managed to snap up one of the very best of the Plaimont
Producteurs wines (in contrast to Waitrose whose version is dilute,
disappointing AND more expensive!). A glorious, interesting white, unoaked,
made from gros manseng, courbu and arrufiac. Shards of preserved grapefruit,
and dry with just a suggestion of wild honey. - Victoria Moore"
House & Garden (2nd Oct 2014)
"A zesty, quince- and
citrus-flavoured white that makes a change from sauviqnon blanc. - Joanna Simon"
Newcastle Journal (23rd Sep 2014)
"The name means the
'rediscovered vines', a reference to the amazing work the Plaimont team have
done in bringing fine but neglected old varieties back into commercial
production. In this wine, along with gros manseng, the once-forgotten varieties
are petit courbu and arrufiac. All that matters, of course, is the taste, and
I'm happy to report that it's memorable in all the right ways: quite a pungent
herby grapefruit and green fruits aroma and a lingering creamy finish, with a
slightly bitter twist at the end.- Joanna Simon"
The Sunday Times (3rd Aug 2014)
"Sturdy stuff, laced
with lemon and thyme. - Bob Tyrer"
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