South West

South West

The Romans brought the first vines to the South West and made wine rather than beer the most important drink. Vine growing was then developed in the region, supported by the clergy using wine when celebrating mass. After a period of prosperity in the Middle Ages, the vineyards of the South-West suffered as a result of the privilege granted to Bordeaux wines by King Henry III of England, who closed access to the port of Bordeaux to other wines. Wars and grape diseases eventually destroyed the vineyards It is only in the early 20th century that these were reborn with the production of mass market table wine, which somehow discredited the production of quality wines.

The restructuring of the vineyards and an improvement in quality was allowed by the creation of appellations and recognition of local terroirs. The Southwest vineyard is a patchwork of small vineyards spread over four main areas: Guyenne, Gascogne, the “Haut-Pays” and the Pyrenees. It includes well-known names such as Cahors, Madiran, Montbazillac, Bergerac, Jurancon or Gaillac.


Appellations

 

Bergerac, Buzet, Cahors, Côtes de Gascogne, Fronton, Gaillac, Irouleguy, Jurançon, Madiran, Monbazillac, Pacherenc du Vic Bilh, Saint Mont

 

Key Figures

 

Surface: 50,000 ha
Winemakers: 5,000
Production: 330m bottles

Grapes

Malbec

Malbec is the main grape of Cahors wines, which may result in elegant, tannic and scented aged wines and with intense blackberry aromas when young.

Duras

One of the oldest grape varieties grown in the Tarn area, it is the flagship of Gaillac and gives a colourful and fruity red wine.

Tannat

Main grape of Madiran, it produces versatile wines, intensely fruity, well balanced and tannic, which can age very well.

Other red grapes

Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Négrette, Prunelard, Breaucol etc ...

Petit Manseng

With high sugar content, it is the essential element of sweet wines from Jurançon and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.

Chenin Blanc

Gives a very fruity dry white wine with aromas of candied fruit.

Other white grapes

Arrufiac, Chardonnay, Colombard, Courbu, Gros Manseng, Loin de l’Oeil, Muscadelle, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc, etc ...


Find more information on the region and its wines with the official websites of the region: South West; or on Wikipedia


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