The Edinburgh Wine Club 

 Wines of  South West France (from the Pyrenees to the Lot), May 17 2012








1. Grand Héron 2011

Côtes de Gascogne

Colombard; Ugni Blanc




Off we go, with a record five blondes present at the tasting! This example of the biggest selling south west appellation had a sweet bouquet – mango – and a fresh, light taste with hint of pears. Classic example of the benefits of modern vinification techniques – these wines used only to be good for making armagnac. Perfect for a summer’s day, but watch that the zest will have gone out of the wine by the end of the year.

   Third =


2. La Vigne de l’oubli,

Domaine d’Escausses 2009; Blanc Sec


50% Sauvignon Blanc; 25% Mauzac; 25% Muscadelle

Slurp Wines


Not the same overt fruitiness as the younger first wine – more complex, lingers long on the palate, and with a hint of vanilla. Would go well with fish. A pleasing modern twist on traditional Gaillac.

3. Domaine Berthoumien 2010; Vielles vignes

Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec

50% Gross Manseng; 30% Petit Courbu; 20% Petit Manseng

Slurp Wines


The rare white Madiran. Complex, mineral, long-lasting. Vanilla first followed by flint. The fruity, sweet bouquet was belied by the austerity of the taste – perhaps too big a contrast?  Did not taste a heavy wine despite being 14%.

4. Domaine Brana 2010


Gros Manseng; Petit Courbu; Petit Manseng

Wine Society



The only official Basque wine from the French side of the border, and another rarity. Grapefruit on the nose, then burst with tangy citrus in the mouth – lemon and grapefruit – and quite long on the palate. Perhaps the rain in its Pyrenees setting helped give the grapes a long ripening season. “Pure, clean, intense, fresh, complex…”: the adjectives were now bursting out as the alcohol was kicking in…


5. Vitatge Vielh de Lapeyre 2007

Jurançon Sec

45% Gross Manseng; 45% Petit Manseng; 10% Petit Courbu

From the vineyard.

10.5 euros (£8.40)

“A lovely wine”. Unusual for a white wine in its age, which was perhaps the reason for it not having a strong nose. An aromatic taste – honey with hints of lavender and vanilla.

6. Domaine du Cros 2011; Lo Sang del Pais



Wine Society


Uniquely 100% Mansois from the remote red sandstone hill country of the Aveyron and normally drunk young. Good for the heart too. “Very successful for a young wine – would be less interesting without the fruit acidity”. “Soft tannins”. Some claimed to detect rubber on the nose, and others ashes…or had they spotted the chef was burning the Toulouse sausages ?


7. Chateau Jouaninel 2009




Negrette; Cabernet Franc



This wine from near Toulouse is the only wine to have Negrette as its major grape. Dark forest fruits, but reasonably dry and a little spicy. “Not a long finish, uncomplicated, but you could drink lots of it”. One found it fabulous, and another found it liquorice…


8. Petit Clos Triguedina 2009




Auxerrois (Malbec) 80%; Merlot 20%

Wine Society


Richer than the previous reds. Cherries, violets, soft tannins, – and liquorice!


9. Clos la Coutale 2009


Auxerrois 80%; Merlot 20%

Wine Society (or Spirited Wines)


Another very pleasant Cahors – with less nose than the previous one. And less tannin – no, more – no, less – no, more….


10. Chateau d’Aydie 2008; Vignobles Laplace


Tannat; Cabernet Franc

Wine Society



Madiran, the top red of the south-west. Nose aromatic, cedar wood. Delicious, spicy, well-made…. length, balance, purity of fruit…14.5% but not in your face.

    Third =

11. Chateau Jolys, Cuvée Jean, 2008


Petit Manseng


(online price)



Tangerines and peaches, marmalade...lychees on nose… went well with Bleu de Basques cheese… some found it superb and some found it sweet and sour…



12. La Magendia de Lapeyre 2006


Petit Manseng

From the vineyard

14.5 euros (£11.50)

A very different example. More what you’d expect of a dessert wine? Lovely nose, more body – ripe apricots rather than marmalade, strawberries….And so to the voting: and white wines take the top positions! Jurancon and Cotes de Gascogne the jewels of the south-west. And blondes rule, ok?