Friday, December 14, 2018

Unusual White Blend From France's Southwest

France's Côtes de Gascogne region is in the southwest part of the country, in the Armagnac region, and is known as Gascony in English.  There is forest to the west, then the Atlantic Ocean; the Pyrenees Mountains, then Spain to south.  Various combinations of clay, limestone, sand and silt make up the soils.

The Gascogne wines are mostly white, with only ten percent red and ten percent rosé.  Winemakers can choose from more than 300 different grape varieties, but most common are the white Colombard, Gros Manseng, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  Red grapes include Tannat, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Seventy-five percent of the Gascogne wines are made for export.  Look to this region for dry, crisp, refreshing, aromatic whites.

Côtes de Gascogne, Eclat, 2017, Blanc

Domaine de Joÿ is a four-generation winery in the Armagnac region of Gascogne.  Veronique and André Gessler now have sons sons Roland and Olivier involved in the business.  The 2017 Eclat is a dry white blend that clocks in at 12% abv and sells for about ten bucks.

This lovely white wine combines the best of what, to me, are less than appealing grapes.  You get Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc in this Gascogne blend.  It shows a beautiful golden tint and smells of citrus, most notably grapefruit.  There's also some wet rock minerality along for the ride and a soapy savory note.  The palate gives a broader citrus flavor and, again, plenty of minerals.  Acidity is fresh, but not too tingly.  The finish fades fairly fast, but it's great while it lasts.

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