I love French wines – Bordeaux, Rhônes and Champagne – so when I got an invitation to taste three wines from Southwest France I accepted the challenge as I was very curious about tasting wines from grapes and wineries I may not be as familiar with. Information on each wine is from their technical sheets are below, followed by my tasting notes and finally more information on the wines from Southwest France.
DOMAINE DU MOULIN
GAILLAC MAUZAC 2017 FRENCH SPARKLING WINEbubble
REGION Southwest France
Gaillac’s local Mauzac grape lends itself extremely well to this medium-sweet style of wine. Full of spice and apple flavors, the wine is delicious as an aperitif. (The méthode ancestrale involves bottling a partially fermented wine which then finishes its fermentation in bottle.)
Jean Paul and Dominique Hirissou took over the family winery in 1976. As soon as they arrived, they chose to focus on increasing the quality of their wine with each vintage by sourcing the best soils in the area, building a new winery adapted to produce wines of great quality, and opening the doors for wine tourism. Nicolas Hirissou, their son, is now in charge. Upon returning from his studies in 2002, he was handed the keys to the winery and granted the ability to take control of Domaine du Moulin wine production.
My Notes: Bubbles furiously – and for a long time – worked their way to the top of a golden-hued colored wine. Fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, pears, cling peaches and banana – tons of fruit – with just a hint of jasmine tea wafted to my nose. My mouth was coated with that same fruit, now honeyed, crisp and lasting. Very interesting wine.
CÔTES DE GASCOGNE BLANC
REGION Southwest France
APPELLATION Cotes de Gascogne
GRAPES Gros Manseng, Ugni blanc, Colombard
Notes of melon, clean, pure flavors of citrus fruit, an engaging herbaceous note, and a pleasingly dry finish.
Domaine Duffour resides in the small town of Lagraulet-du-Gers, and since the early 1980’s proprietor Michel Duffour has dedicated himself to producing quality red and white wines. Since taking over his father’s property, he has entirely replanted the vineyards with Gros Manseng, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, having kept the old Colombard and Ugni Blanc vines that he also uses for the production of armagnac.
My Notes: Shiny gold with a slight green in color, with aromas of white peach, lime zest, vanilla ice cream and a rocky riverbed. Tasting the wine reminded me of lemon-lime soda, pear, green apple, white pepper; with a soft minerality, fresh and very clean, acidic and yet round in the mouth. Super different, and I really liked this wine.
NATURE SECRETE SAINT MONT RED “Nature Secrete”, 13% alcohol.
REGION Southwest France
APPELLATION Saint Mont
GRAPES 70% Tannat, 15% Pinenc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Generally characterized by a beautiful concentration of flavors, often revealing notes of red and black fruits such as blackcurrant.
The Saint Mont appellation combines 200 wine growers who cultivate 1,200 hectares of vines. “The wines of Saint Mont are still very young, having been awarded AOVDQS status (Superior Quality Wine with a Designation of Origin) in 1981, and unanimously granted AOC status in 2011,” explains Eric Fitan, a wine grower and President of the Appellation.
Opaque and very dark purple was my observation of the color. The nose delivered notes of sweet stewed black and blue fruits, rich earth, black licorice, coffee bean and pipe smoke. On the mouth I was reminded of dried blueberries, crushed blackberries, black pepper, spices, a rich mouthfeel, dry and tannic with a medium finish.
About Southwest France Wines
Southwest France is the leader in grape diversity with up to 300 discovered grape varieties and 130 indigenous grape varieties, all of which produce a large array of outstanding wines in every color.
Home to the grapes that started it all, nearly half of the varieties in the region are indigenous. Some famous grapes such as Malbec and Cabernet Franc originate from the region. Known for its strong cultural roots and rich history unique to the terroir, these native varieties embody the legacy of Southwest France’s particular geography and centuries of careful selection. Southwest France invites you to discover its genuine pool of biodiversity and to discover true originally born from historic origins.
About Interprofession des Vins du Sud-Ouest France
Interprofession des Vins du Sud-Ouest (IVSO) is a professional organization of wine producers, cooperatives, and trading companies in the Southwestern corner of France. The organization represents 16 Protected Designation of Origin and 12 Protected Geographical Indication in this region of France bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains on the south, while other official organizations manage the remaining appellations of the Southwest France region. Headquartered in Toulouse, the IVSO is actively building its membership and increasing its promotion of the wines of Southwest France around the world.
For more information on the Wines of Southwest France, please visit their website.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits