Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE - ANDY CRON­SHAW

ONE of France’s most in­ter­est­ing wine re­gions lies be­yond the lim­its of Bordeaux to­wards the south west.

There are dozens of ap­pel­la­tions here and a plethora of grape va­ri­eties from the heav­ily tan­nic wines of Madi­ran and Ca­hors, to the light whites la­belled Cotes de Gascogne.

It is in Gail­lac, that the Ro­mans first be­gan the cul­ti­va­tion of grapes in the first cen­tury AD mak­ing it the birth­place of French wine.

And, as you travel fur­ther up­stream away from Bordeaux the more unusual and ex­ten­sive be­come the grape va­ri­eties. There are, just to name a few, Abou­riou, Fer or Man­sois, Loin de L’oeil, Né­grette and Af­fru­fiac.

Gen­er­ally the land is more hilly than Bordeaux but still very much in­flu­enced by an At­lantic cli­mate.

The cui­sine here is ro­bust and deca­dent with lots of con­fit duck and goose on the menus, Ro­que­fort cheese, truf­fles, Toulouse sausages and hearty cassoulet.

For each of th­ese del­i­ca­cies there seems to be an equally de­li­cious ap­pel­la­tion to match.

And, like the Langue­doc, it’s a place for mav­er­ick wine­mak­ers and also a great source of rea­son­ably priced bot­tles.

For more in­for­ma­tion about south west France’s wines visit: south west­francewines. com.

Here is a small se­lec­tion of bot­tles to rep­re­sent the re­gion:

Un­der £10

Les Hauts de Bergelle Blanc 2011 Saint Mont (£7.99 Ma­jes­tic)

This de­li­cious white is made from Gros Manseng, Petit Corbu and Ar­ru­fiac. It’s crisp, tangy and in­tense with aro­mas of hazel­nut. Sains­bury’s Taste the Dif­fer­ence Fron­ton Rosé (£7.99 Sains­bury’s)

Fron­ton near Toulouse in south west France has been pro­duc­ing wines since the 12th cen­tury, largely from Né­grette.

This black grape is per­fect for mak­ing per­fumed rosé and this ex­am­ple is de­li­cious with aro­mas of Turk­ish de­light and con­cen­trated rasp­berry fruit. Java L’en­vie en rose Cotes de Gascogne (£8 Marc Fine Wines / Drinks of France / De­li­ciously French)

A very light rosé de­spite be­ing made from Mer­lot and Caber­net Franc.

Very easy drink­ing with aro­mas of straw­berry. Chateau de Hau­terive Ca­hors 2011 (£7.50 The Wine So­ci­ety)

A crack­ing bar­gain in my book. Ca­hors is dom­i­nated by Mal­bec and is a great wine to match roasted meats and steak in par­tic­u­lar. This is sup­ple, fruity and ex­pres­sive from grapes grown on gravel beds above the river Saint Mont Béret Noir 2011 (£7.90 Christo­pher Piper Wines)

Made with Tan­nat, Pi­nenc and Caber­net Franc this inky red is very ro­bust with lash­ings of dark fruit and plenty of tan­nic grip – just right for rich stews. Gail­lac Loin de L’Oeil Sauvi­gnon Ge­orge Vigouroux 2013 (£9.99 Gen­eral Wine Co)

Loin de l’Oeil means ‘far from the eye’ (as the grape bunches hang on a long stem far from the branch) and it’s known for its flo­ral notes but can lack acid­ity, which is why

‘Ut­terly de­li­cious and mor­eish red’

Sauvi­gnon Blanc is the per­fect match.

This has aro­mas of al­mond and or­ange blos­som while there’s baked ap­ple on the palate

Over £10

Chateau d’Ay­die, Pacherenc-Du-Vic-Bilh 2011 (£13.50 The Wine So­ci­ety)

Pacherenc-Du-Vic-Bilh is an ap­pel­la­tion which makes dry and sweet aro­matic whites.

The sweet is some­times made from the Passer­illé grape but here it is Petit Manseng and Petit Corbu.

This chateau, owned by the Laplace fam­ily, is widely rec­og­nized as a lead­ing pro­ducer of Madi­ran.

This sweet wine has a won­de­ful flo­ral nose and hon­eyed, peachy fruit. Domaine Du Cros Mar­cil­lac Cu­vée Vielles Vignes 2011 (£13.99 Les Caves de Pyrenes)

This ut­terly de­li­cious and mor­eish red is made with the Fer grape, also known as Man­sois.

It’s vig­or­ously fruity with a nice creamy smooth­ness to the tex­ture of the palate.

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