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Not too sweet and with a seam of fresh acidity to keep everything light and airy, this is a lovely southern French dessert wine to be enjoyed with fruit salads, fruit tarts or cheese.
Product Code: QVT-FC37591
View all products by Domaine Cauhapé
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.
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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