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 wine styles


The reds from Béarn are full-bodied and rich; those from Irouléguy have good tannins and are fragrant. The Madiran reds are even more tannic when young with fruity raspberry flavours and colour ranging from vermilion to ruby red. Madirans require ageing, and when aged in oak, they develop into more fleshy wines with toasty aromas.


Béarn rosés, made from the Cabernets, are exceptionally good with delicate, elegant aromas. Irouléguy rosés are fragrant with a pretty cherry colour.

Sweet Whites

Jurançon golden coloured sweet whites have a range of exotic fruit flavours and spices with good balancing acidity. They are capable of ageing and are often fermented and matured in oak.

Dry Whites

The dry whites have honeyed flavours. Jurançon Sec is the most interesting of all. Pacherenc Vic Bilh produces dry and sweet wines with rich aromas of almond, hazelnut and exotic fruit. Tursan whites are interesting dry, lively perfumed wines. There is a huge range of Vin de Pays, mainly dry, reflecting their grape variety.

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