France Sud Ouest, selected by The Wine Gang
South West France is, truth be told, a bit of an oenological backwater - a mixed bag of left-over regions you haven't heard of, wedged between the more well-known Bordeaux, Languedoc and Rhone.
The Wine Gang have been championing wines from South West France for while now and I have been impressed with what I have previously tried from this diverse region - don't let geographic or varietal obscurity detract you from these wines; south west France seems to be undergoing the sort of renaissance that Languedoc experienced a couple of decades ago.
The wines from this region are generally expressive with plenty of crowd-pleasing character; this is a rugged and rustic part of France - the home of the Gascons, it is a sort of French Balkans; a place of strong foods, simmering historical tensions and intense passions.
Les Terres Basses, Cotes de Gascogne NV, Laballe modern, crisp and aromatic. Pale sandy yellow, crisply herbaceous with stone fruit; precise, zesty, linear acidity with lime marmalade fruit and a mineral persistence to round off the finish. Very modern and zingy - a Ray Winstone blue-collar hero of a wine.
Serve as an aperitif or with light starters.
L'Empreinte de Saint Mont, Saint Mont 2010, Plaimont big, fruity yet poised red. Dark purple, almost opaque in the glass; sweet vanilla, cassis and damson with liquorice and spice. A blend of local Tannat and Pininc varieties, Tim Atkin describes this as claret-meets-chianti, with its ripe cassis, pencil shavings and precise, linear acidity.
With lots of ripe fruit and soft, perfectly ripe tannins, it is drinking nicely now, but will also repay some cellaring. Good.
Match with roast lamb, wild boar or turkey with all the trimmings.
Renaissance, Gaillac Doux 2010, Domaine Rotier big, complex yet fresh sticky. From the indigenous Loin de l'oeil grape, golden, syrupy yellow with aromas of ripe quince, beeswax, roasted peaches and a touch of struck match. Intense, buttery roasted peach sweetness with dried apricots and figs, all cut through with fresh acidity. As imposing and muscular yet deft as an NBA baskeball player.
Match with a pecan pie or sticky toffee pudding.
All wines provided for review.
Other related articles
South West France Wines with Anthony Rose at Comptoir Gascon
South West France Wines Christmas Masterclass
Tim Atkin on L'Empreinte
South West France Wines - website
Laballe - website
Plaimont - website
Domaine Rotier - website