The southwest of France rocks. Big time. As well as meaty, bloody, rock-essence reds, it produces some interesting whites, from the likes of the two Mansengs and a range of other unusual white varieties. And because these wines are ignored by points chasers and 'collectors', you and I can afford them.
Latest wine in the tasting queue was Domaine Berthoumieu's 2005 Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec. It's a white wine from the Madiran region, made from old vines. It's a powerful concoction, with a bold nose of herbs, vanilla, nuts and hay. The palate is intense with ripe conference pear fruit and good acidity countering the intense, almost oily flavours. Full of personality, and probably a bit too much for palates that have been weaned on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It tastes to me as if there has been a good bit of skin contact (not usual with modern white wines) as well as a bit of new oak.
UK availability: Les Caves de Pyrene (www.lescaves.co.uk)
Labels: southwest France