France: South West France

Gascony and the Basque Country

Wines from north of the Pyrenees
By Paul Strang

This Guide was last updated on 28 July 2011
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Main grape varieties


Fer Servadou
Produces wines with good colour, rusticity and body with blackcurrant and raspberry tones.

The dominant red grape of the region. Highly coloured, rustic, astringent grape variety with an important role in red blends.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Can be difficult to ripen on cooler, damper soils and thrives better on the well-drained warm gravel soils. Adds structure and tannins to blends, with flavours of blackcurrant.

Cabernet Franc
Gives the wines finesse. Often called Bouchet it is a lighter and less intense version of Cabernet Sauvignon. Successful in Irouléguy, less so in Saint-Mont.

Mainly used to produce soft quick maturing Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne either as a blend or as a varietal.


Petit Manseng
This thick skinned grape is particularly used for the production of intense sweet wines though fine dry wines may also be produced. When it reaches over-maturity it produces wines with flavours of grapefruit, pineapple, honey and even gingerbread, with good balancing acidity.

Gros Manseng
Particularly well adapted to the climate this grape imparts concentrated exotic fruit flavours.

Petit Courbu
Grape variety used for dry white wine production. Good aromatic qualities and contributes minerailty and length to the wine.

This grape variety is used mostly for dry wine production. Adds structure to wines, floral and balsamic notes and characteristic flint aromas.

Sauvignon Blanc
Used occasionally in blends and some single varietal Vin de Pays wines particularly in the Côtes de Gascogne.

Raffiat de Moncade
Used in white Béarn blends. Not to be confused with Arrufiac.

Used for Tursan white blends.

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