Midi Wine

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Midi Wines

In viticultural terms, the Midi region in the south-west of France is known for its production of simple, dry white wines, moelleux dessert wines and mid-weight or brooding, earthy reds. The wines of the Bergerac, Charentais and Côtes de Gascogne appellations serve as good value alternatives to the grander Bordeaux appellations and tend to be earlier drinking. Reds from Irouléguy using the Tannat grape combined with Merlot and Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon reward cellaring. The Jurançon's use of Gros- and Petit Manseng alongside Petit Courbu match Irouléguy's white grapes though are somewhat better known for both its 'Sec' (dry) and late-harvest 'Moelleux' sweet whites.

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  1. Jurançon Moelleux: Domaine Bellegarde 'Historique' 2019
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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.

Key AOCs:
Charentais, Bergerac, Monbazillac, Cahors, Madiran, Côtes de Gascogne, Jurançon, Irouléguy, Gaillac, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.

Principal grapes:
Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle, Ugni blanc, Colombard, Gros & Petit Manseng, Petit Corbu, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tannat & Négrette.

Notable domaines:
Château Montus, Château de Cèdre, Domaines l’Ancienne Cure, Bellegarde, Cauhapé, Brana, Ilarria, Plageoles.

Local delicacies:
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.

Bien classique:
Monbazillac Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure

Autre chose:
Irouléguy blanc Domaine Ilarria