Jurançon is a wine with a strong imprint in French culture - Henry IV was baptised with it and Colette called it her 'great seducer' - yet during its post war nadir, precious little was being bottled by individual wine-makers. Fortunately, the local Cave Coopérative, founded in 1949, did at least ensure that vines were being tended and wine was being produced. Pascal Labasse left the relative security of its confines in 1986 to go it alone as a vigneron indépendant and his wines now enjoy an international following and grace the cartes du vin of many Michelin-starred establishments.
Pascal's Domaine Bellegarde, at the foot of the Pyrenees at Monein, now encompasses 15 hectares of organically cultivated vines and his son Maxime is assisting him with the estate's viticulture and vinification. Their Jurançon Sec, now called 'Energique' is made from pure Gros Manseng and has a zesty grapefruit bouquet and nervy orchard fruit palate with a fresh clean finish. Their golden-hued Jurançon Moelleux 'Historique' is mostly made from Petit Manseng with 20% dash of Gros Manseng for freshness. Hand-picked at optimum maturity in late autumn, the finished wine has appealing pineapple and grapefruit aromas and a wonderfully honeyed palate offset by a fresh acidity. Traditionally it is served as a pre-prandial pick-me-up but it also pairs well with fruit desserts and blue cheeses. P and M's marvellous 'Cuvée Thibault' is made from pure late-harvested Petit Manseng and has a lovely amber robe, candied peel scents and complex fig and dried fruit flavours. It drinks beautifully from release but can be cellared for up to a decade.