Given its associations with royalty (Henry IV was baptised with it) and sex (Colette called it a 'great seducer') you might think the Bérnais wine of Jurançon would be known to a wider audience but it remains a relatively well-kept vinous secret and you won't find it adorning the galley aisles of the (so called) supermarkets. Tant mieux if that means more to go round appreciative aficionados.
Pascal Labasse is a talented wine maker who left the confines of the local cave co-opérative back in 1986 to go it alone and hasn't looked back. At Domaine Bellegarde, outside the village of Monien, he proudly presides over a pristine winery that he has built up from scratch. His excellent sweet Jurançon Moelleux is made from a blend of hand-harvested Gros and Petit Manseng that are vinified in vat and barrel respectively before blending and bottling. It has exotic fruit aromas and an intense pineapple palate offset by a fresh acidity. Traditionally served as preprandial pick-me-up it also makes a versatile partner to fruitbased desserts. Pascal also makes a sweet Jurançon from pure late-harvested Petit Manseng named after his eldest son 'Thibault'. With a deep, golden robe, candied citrus scents and a richly-honeyed peach palate it merits decanting and will cellar well for a decade.
Although Domaine Bellegarde is renowned for its sweet wines they also produce a very good Jurançon Sec from a blend of Gros Manseng and Camaralet. It has a fresh orchard fruit scents and flavours and a zesty, dry finish.