Cotes de Gascogne – musketeers and wine pioneers
Home of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers, the Cotes de Gascogne has plenty to offer swashbuckling gastronomic adventurers. In this under-celebrated region, fields of sunflowers stretch lazily towards the southern French sun and foie gras isn’t so much a luxury as a way of life. This is the home of rich confit duck, mountains of charcuterie, sticky prunes and Armagnac. And the wines are equally exuberant.
From crisp, dry whites to rich, full-bodied reds, they offer superb value for money compared to their Bordeaux equivalents. It’s a wonder we don’t hear more about this hidden corner of south west France, but that looks set to change. With increasing international interest as a tourist destination, this is a region that is set to shine.
The Cote de Gascogne’s viticultural history stretches back nearly 1,000 years, but it has revolutionised its winemaking practices in the last 40 years. Key in this transformation is the co-operative Plaimont Producteurs, formed from the three AOPs Saint Mont, Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, as well as the wider IGP, Cotes du Gascogne.
The co-operative receives fruit from just over 1,000 growers, and employs over 5,000 people in this beautiful pocket of France. With an emphasis on careful attention in the vineyard and a focus on local varieties, these exceptional-value wines punch well above their weight.
We tasted the Plaimont wines in February and again this month, and were struck by their forward style and expressive flavour, which is so typical of the region. We are delighted to offer Plaimont’s Le Favori and Colombelle L’Original ranges exclusively to Walker & Wodehouse customers.
Le Favori de Gascogne Rouge
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is round and generous in the mouth, with a beautiful bouquet of red fruits and hints of sweet spice.
Le Favori de Gascogne Blanc
This exceptionally refreshing and intensely aromatic white is made from local grapes Colombard and Ugni Blanc.
Colombelle L’Original Rouge
This dark, garnet-coloured blend of Tannat, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon has a lovely bouquet of red fruit with soft spicy notes. In the mouth it is round and voluptuous with a fresh finish including notes of pepper and liquorice.
Colombelle L’Original Blanc
Another blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc, this pale yellow wine has an intensely fruity bouquet, dominated by yellow fruit with notes of citrus, fresh almonds and a hint of jasmine.