What to drink this week
As I write, summer appears to have gone away on what I hope turns out to be a short holiday. Sunnier and warmer days will return and wines that major in refreshing nimbleness rather than heavy solidity will be in demand. I urge you to turn your attention to one of France’s most enchanting, remote and underappreciated wine regions. This is Gascony, perhaps best known as the homeland of Armagnac (see page 92), but also a producer of fascinating table wines.
Why you should be drinking them
Gascony was languishing in the 1970s when a far-sighted genius named André Dubosc came on the scene. He revitalised the vast Plaimont co-operative, which farms more than 120,000 acres, and turned it into a dynamic producer and exporter of excellent, goodvalue table wines, from the simple IGT Côtes de Gascogne to quality cuvées based on such grapes as Gros Manseng and Tannat.
What to drink
Gascony has an extraordinary dowry of old vines and local grape varieties. Following the lead of Plaimont, the family estate of Domaine de Pellehaut, in partnership with Maison Sichel, is doing excellent work with its Harmonie de Gascogne range. The Domaine de Pellehaut Blanc 2016 (£7.99; www.cambridgewine.com) is made from an eclectic mix of grapes, including Gros Manseng, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and the blend works beautifully, combining grapefruity zest with peachy roundness. Domaine de Pellehaut Rouge 2015 (£7.59; www.thospeatling.com) does the same trick with an unusual melange of red varieties, with Pinot Noir and Manseng Noir in the mix, and the result is enticing, strawberry-light and fresh. As for the Rosé 2016 (right, £7.99; www.connollyswine.co. uk), it’s pale salmon-pink, pretty, fresh and moreish.
Harry Eyres is enchanted by these fascinating wines from the home of Armagnac