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South West France

The South West of France is largely overlooked as a winemaking region, but this is grossly unfair for a number of reasons.  It has a very fine culinary tradition that can only be complemented by good local wines; it maintains a suite of indigenous and interesting grapes; it was influenced by Bordeaux and produced fine enough wines to be part of the trade of that town before legislation forbade this; and the winemaking regions ...

The South West of France is largely overlooked as a winemaking region, but this is grossly unfair for a number of reasons.  It has a very fine culinary tradition that can only be complemented by good local wines; it maintains a suite of indigenous and interesting grapes; it was influenced by Bordeaux and produced fine enough wines to be part of the trade of that town before legislation forbade this; and... read more.

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within the South West are widely scattered, fiercely individualistic and all the more appealing for it. Cahors, Bergerac and Monbazillac are the pre-eminent appellations, and the Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne is a large, important and very good value source of everyday wine. Armagnac is a product of this region.

Styles of Wine

The scattered winemaking districts of the region, with their varied influences and indigenous grapes, have created a wide range of styles that they vehemently cling to.  The South West has not been overrun with international grape varieties and standardised methods.  The whites can be sparkling, crisp or sweet, the reds as soft or as tannic as you happen to fancy.  There is something for everyone in this traditional and beautiful part of France.

Key Vines

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc. Muscadelle and Sémillon came down from Bordeaux and remain of vital importance, as does Malbec, which is the key vine in Cahors and known there as Auxerrois or Cot.  Carignan, Syrah and Grenache have come in from southern regions of France and Chardonnay has achieved a foothold.

Many indigenous grapes are alive and well and worth searching out.  Tannat and Duras are both red and Arrufiac, Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng and Petit Courbu are amongst the whites.  Colombard was once primarily used for the distillation of Armagnac but has emerged as a wine grape in its own right.

Climate and Terroir

These vary greatly over the region.  Some districts, such as Bergerac, have a cool maritime climate similar to Bordeaux, others are influenced by the Pyrenees, and Cahors is equidistant between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and susceptible to the whim of both.  One feature common to much of the region is the danger of hard spring frosts.

Soil type is extremely varied, even within individual districts.

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  1. Chemin des Pelerins Blanc, Saint-Mont

    Chemin des Pelerins Blanc, Saint-Mont, 2015 75cl

    Light yellow colour with green hints. Ripe bouquet of exotic fruit and grapefruit. Well-balanced, soft and rich on the palate, with notes of quince, pineapple and lemon. Fresh finish and good length.

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    £7.60
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    £6.05
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    £6.33
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  2. Plaimont Colombard, Cotes de Gascogne

    Plaimont Colombard, Cotes de Gascogne, 2015 75cl

    Another success from Gascony, where the Plaimont co-operative continues to deliver drop dead gorgeous whites. This is well made and fruity with the Colombard grape at its zesty and zingy best.

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    £5.83
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  3. Plaimont Sauvignon Blanc, Cotes de Gascogne

    Plaimont Sauvignon Blanc, Cotes de Gascogne 2016 75cl

    This Sauvignon comes from selected parcels with in Gascogne. A stunning expression of the region this wine has zesty lemon notes with vibrant gooseberry character. A delicious wine perfect as an aperitif or with food.

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    £7.19
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    £7.85
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    £5.99
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  4. Domaine du Tariquet Classic, Cotes de Gascogne

    Domaine du Tariquet Classic, Cotes de Gascogne, 2016 75cl

    Classic white wine from Gascony. Crisp fruit flavours that are both citrussy and tropical. Combines an intense flavour with fantastic drinkability, great value for money and a perfect 'everyday' wine.

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  5. Chemin des Pelerins Rouge, Saint-Mont

    Chemin des Pelerins Rouge, Saint-Mont 2014 75cl

    Purple colour. Fresh black fruit nose (blackcurrant and blackberry), with spicy and liquorice hints. The mouth is powerful but supple, with silky tannins but consistent and balanced on the palate.

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  6. Le Faite Rouge, Saint Mont

    Le Faite Rouge, Saint Mont, 2012 75cl

    This is a well balanced wine with the fruit and oak flavours complimenting each perfectly on the palate and producing good complexity. Accompanied by soft tannin and a hint of vanilla this is also a wine that will age well.

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  7. Mythique Malbec Domaine Capelanel, Cahors

    Mythique Malbec Domaine Capelanel, Cahors, 2011 75cl

    The dark inky colour is exactly what you'd expect from the black wine of Cahors, with the dark fruits that follow living up to its reputation. Rich blackberries fill a palate that has hints of spice and liquorice also, this wine is not for the faint hearted but with a long and persistently rich finish.

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  8. Plaimont Merlot Tannat, Cotes de Gascogne

    Plaimont Merlot Tannat, Cotes de Gascogne, 2016 75cl

    Deep red in colour, this is a well-judged blend of Merlot's soft fruit and Tannat's structure, making it a full and juicy wine of repute.

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    £6.96
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    £7.75
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  9. Cuvée Jean Paul Demi Sec, Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne

    Cuvée Jean Paul Demi Sec, Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne, 2014 75cl

    A smooth and subtle medium white wine whose deliciously fresh and fragrant nose is followed by ripe, green fruit on the palate to create a lasting finish.

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  10. Cuvée Jean Paul Rouge, Vin de Pays de Vacluse

    Cuvée Jean Paul Rouge, Vin de Pays de Vacluse, 2014 75cl

    This crimson wine has a pronounced nose of fruit and is smooth, soft and succulent on the palate. The predominance of Grenache Noir imparts a depth and robustness that is typical of Southern Rhone wines.

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  11. Cuvée Jean Paul Sec, Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne

    Cuvée Jean Paul Sec, Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne, 2014 75cl

    A fresh, dry white made from quality grapes sourced from Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne. Fragrant aromas are followed by crisp green fruit on the palate. Delicious.

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  12. Mas de Vigeron Demi Sec, Pays des Côtes de Gascogne

    Mas de Vigeron Demi Sec, Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, 2014 75cl

    A smooth and subtle medium white wine whose deliciously fresh and fragrant nose is followed by ripe, green fruit on the palate to create a lasting finish

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    £5.50
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