Quick & Easy Guide to the wines of the Midi
Discover why they live longer over in south-west France.
The Midi is a ‘catch all’ term for the wines of south-west France. Stretching from the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux to the peaks of the Pyrenees and inland across the river valleys of the Garonne, Lot and Tarn, this is a region with great history and real diversity. In viticultural terms it is known for simple, dry white wines, sweet dessert wines and brooding, earthy reds.
Area Under Vine:
40,000 hectares with production divided equally between cave co-operatives and independent producers.
Charentais, Bergerac, Monbazillac, Cahors, Madiran, Côtes de Gascogne, Jurançon, Irouléguy, Gaillac, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.
Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle, Ugni blanc, Colombard, Gros & Petit Manseng, Petit Corbu, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tannat & Négrette.
Château Montus, Château de Cèdre, Domaines l’Ancienne Cure, Bellegarde, Cauhapé, Brana, Ilarria, Plageoles.
Bayonne ham, piperade (peppers and tomatoes), foie gras, magret of duck, cassoulet, garbure (ham and cabbage soup), Roquefort & Ossau-Iraty cheeses, Agen prunes, Basque almond cake.
Restaurants we like:
Café Ttipia (St-Jean-Pied-de-Porte), Café Jean (Biarritz), Le Clos Saint-Front (Périgeux) and Hôtel Charbonnel (Brantôme).
Famous people from the region:
Henry IV (Pau), musketeer d’Artagnan (Lupiac), Jean Bernadotte (later King of Sweden and Norway), footballer Didier Deschamps, rugbymen Serge Blanco, Raphael Ibanez and Imanol Harinordoquy.
Things to do:
Walk a section of one of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim routes, relax at a thermal spa in Gers, Dorres or Luz-St-Sauveur, attend the salsa and bullfighting feria in Dax, play the tables at the casinos in Biarritz, relax to jazz by the Nive river during Bayonne’s festival, canoe down the Dordogne, Lot or Tarn, cycle up the Col du Tourmalet.
Monbazillac Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure
Irouléguy blanc Domaine Ilarria