White grapes varieties
SOUTH WEST VINEYARDS
The colombard, mauzac, petit and gros manseng, petit courbu, ondenc and len de l’el, contribute to discover the charm too often unsuspected of the dry and mellow white wines to sweet of the region.
Light body, high acidity, modest alcohol, aromatic, floral and citrus characters. Often blended with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Found mostly in IGP Côtes de Gascogne.
Courbu and petit courbu
Petit Courbu : Found mostly in Pacherenc de Vic-Bilh and Irouléguy this high acid grape variety brings flavours of lemon peel, grapefruit and a touch of pineapple. Only 66 hectares planted and most commonly seen blended with the Mansengs and Arrufiac where it brings body and more fragrant aromatics. No relation to Courbu but known as Hondarrabi Zuri over the border in Spain where it makes the very crisp styles of Txakoli.
Courbu : No real relation to Petit Courbu but has similar characteristics of citrus, honey to its namesake Petit Courbu. Suitable for dry and sweet wines and found in Jurançon, Pacherenc and Irouléguy. Nearly extinct but starting to undergo a mini renaissance. Currently 27 hectares planted.
Thick skinned, citrus, lemon peel, very high acid. Can be used for dry and sweet wines but mostly used for dry wines. Found in Jurançon, Pacherenc and Gascogne.
High quality, very high acid, aromatic, high alcohol and the basis for the best sweet non-botrytised wines of South West. Considered better than its cousin Gros Manseng and typically used for sweet rather than dry wines but like Gros Manseng can be used for both.
Loin de l’œil (aka len de l’el)
Sometimes spelt Len de L’el another white grape variety found only in one region, Gaillac. Name means “far from the eye” and refers to the bunches of grapes which form a long way from the bud. Less aromatic than Mauzac, more nutty, floral sometimes slightly oily in character. Produces wines high in alcohol and can be produced in a dry or sweet style, but more renowned for the sweet styles.
A versatile grape variety that can be used to make dry, sweet or sparkling wines. Found almost exclusively in one region, Gaillac. Forms the basis of many Traditional Method sparkling wines and the gentle spritz of some Perlé styles. The variety has high acidity and notes of fresh apples, pear, quince and citrus peel.
Saved from extinction, here are now around 10 hectares planted, all in Gaillac. Very high acid, with notes of white flowers, hay and tropical fruit. Makes excellent sweet wines in the late harvest style.
Thick skinned variety producing wines with low acidity. Found in mostly in Saint Mont where it is blended with Gros Manseng and Petit Courbu. Jancis Robinson decribes the flavour as “grainy”.
Sometimes spelled barroque, this local variety is the backbone of the white wines of the Tursan appellation. Although it is now almost exclusively cultivated in the Landes department, it was once known throughout the south-west of France. When ripe, the juice from this grape variety can be rich in sugar. We get lively, fresh and aromatic wines.
South West Vineyards
Centre INRA - Chemin de Borde Rouge
CS 52637 - 31321 Castanet Tolosan cedex
Phone : (+33) 5 61 73 87 06
Fax : (+33) 5 61 75 64 39
Monday to Friday : 9 am - 5 pm
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