Find your winery or vineyard
1 Wineries and Vineyards for sale in Aquitaine-Southwest
Infographic of the Region
Region of Aquitaine-South-West
When Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet in 1152. Aquitaine became English and the English adopted the eating habits and customs of the French princes, including wine drinking.
The French wine-growing Southwest can be divided into the following areas and appellations:
The haute Pays: Buzet, Cahors, Côtes du Brulhois, Coteaux du Quercy, Entraygues et Le Fel, Estaing, Fronton, Gaillac, Lavilledieu, Marcillac.
Pyrenean Piedmont: Madiran, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, Jurançon, Irouléguy, Côtes de Saint-Mont, Tursan, Vins de Pays Côtes de Gascogne.
Bergerac, Duras et Marmandais: Duras, Côtes de Marmandais, Bergeraçois is more than an AOC, it is a wine region with 13 AOC, including Bergerac and Côtes de Bergerac, Pécharmant, Monbazillac, Saussignac, Montravel and Rosette.
As for the grape varieties of the South-West region, they are one of the great assets of this wine-growing area, some of them indigenous, and they mark the identity of the wines of this region.
As for the red varieties, the Bordeaux varieties go beyond the lands of the Girondins. In the southwest, Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc are produced, especially in the bordering regions such as Bergerac, Duras, Marmande or Buzet. But when we move away from the bordering areas with the Gironde, the local varieties appear. Cahors is the cradle of Malbec, also called Côt to produce dense and angular wines once called black wine. Further south in Madiran, it is the Tannat variety that gives personality to these full-bodied wines. In Fronton, the black grape variety is the majority and gives full-bodied and aromatic wines. While in Marzillac the Fer Servadou variety dominates with 90% in the blend of these wines. In these appellations of the Haute Pays, the Gamay and Syrah varieties are also well implanted and in a more anecdotal way varieties such as Pinot Noir, Jurançon Noir or Mouyssagues in the AOVDQS (Appellation d'Origine Vino Delimité de Qualité) Entraygues et Le Fel, Braucol and Duras.
As for the white varieties, the influence of Bordeaux varieties in the area is also notable. While Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are more present in the periphery of the Gironde, producing dry and sweet whites such as Monbazillac in the Dordogne, these two varieties give way in the direction of Toulouse and Pau to other more autochthonous varieties. The most interesting of all for the production of sweet wines is Petit Manseng together with its relative Gros Manseng. They are the artisans behind the success of the sweet wines of Jurançon and Pacherenc. We can also find other varieties such as Courbu, but in smaller proportions. In the department of Gers, Chardonnay, Columbard, Muscadelle, Falle Blanca and Mauzac also thrive. This last one is also used in Gaillac at 50% in the wine. Another variety that is acclimatized to these lands is Chenin, present in several appellations. Finally, we should mention a grape that only exists in this appellation called Len de l'El (far from the eye), a name given to it by the elders because the grape has a long stalk and moves it away from the stem of the bunch.
The wines of the Southwest have a wide range of tones, although in general they are quite structured and powerful. The wines can be rosé like the seductive rosés from Fronton with their raspberry aromas, they can be ruby-coloured, especially those made from the fruitier Gamay grape, or they can be more intense with violet tones like the Bergerac wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Even darker, such as the Madiran wines where the concentration comes from the Tannat, the most important variety of the region, which gives opulent, structured, dense, tannic and pungent wines that are best kept for a few years in the bottle before being enjoyed. However, the one known as vin noir is the angular Cahors wine, a nickname that gave it its reputation in the 19th century, a characteristic that is due to the star variety Malbec with its aromas of violets, liquorice, spices and ripe black fruits. The wines of Cahors can be rough, but when well made, they present intense black fruits and round, structured and powerful tannins on the palate.
White wines also have a varied palette of colours. They can be almost colourless like Gascogne wines or some Gaillac whites with floral and white fruit aromas like pear or present a more intense colour layer like in Bergeracois, where the whites are aged in barrels. Finally, the sweet wines that show more golden and even orange tones with time, resembling the Armagnac, such as the wines of Monbazillac, Jurançon and Pacharenc du Vic-Bilh. These liqueur wines give great renown to the region and are characterised by their intense aromas such as the exuberant Jurançon wine and its aromas of exotic fruits, pineapple, passion fruit, litchi and mango. Also, the Pacheren du Vic-Bilh develops notes of Mango and exotic fruits and is due to the Petit Manseng variety used in these wines which also gives them the acidity that is the greatness of these wines of the area. As for the renowned Monbazillac sweets, they show a very different organoleptic profile from the previous ones, the Monbazillacs are rounder, more concentrated in the mouth with aromas of candied fruits, apricot, peach, acacia, orange, honey and spices. They are more similar to Bordeaux Sauternes or Loupiac.
There is no official classification for Southwest French wines but the most renowned wineries are Château du Cèdre (Cahors), Château Montus (Madiran), Domaine de Souch (Jurançon), Château Tour des Gendres (Bergerac), Clos Uroulat (Jurançon).