Ideally located between seas and mountains, the Southwest wine region full of very specific indigenous grape varieties, which make it possible to obtain exceptional wines. Let's go to meet Southwest vineyards.
History of the southwest vineyard
If the majority of French wine regions have emerged following the implementation of vines by the Romans during the conquest of Gaul, the Southwest vineyards enjoy a more specific origin. It is indeed a region located, on the one hand, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and on the other hand, between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. This particular position earned him a humidity particularly conducive to the development of wild vines, and therefore to the emergence of Aboriginal grape varieties.
Note despite everything that the consecration of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle as a holy city has largely contributed to the importation of vines in the southwest by pilgrims.
We then see, from the 12th century, arriving grape varieties originally from the Bordeaux region or the Loire Valley, then gradually from different regions of France and elsewhere.
The majority of Southwest vines However, remains very specific to the region, and has managed to keep its originality despite the ravages of phylloxera and mildiou at the end of the 19th century.
The geography of the southwest vineyard
Extended by the reliefs of the Massif Central in the Pyrenees, and from the Garonne to the Basque Country, the Southwest vineyard Decomposes into 6 fragmented entities, spread over 12 departments and extended over more than 33,000 hectares: the Tarn basin, Aveyron, the Lot valley, Gascogne, the Garonnais basin and the Pyrenean Piedmont.
The diversity of the terroirs is such in the Southwest, that the vines adopt various characters, specific to the different terroirs. Sandy moors, river plains, mountain buttresses and gentle slopes then benefit from a significant water network and very good sunshine, which promote the Vine development, and offer wines unique aromas, full of character. The climates are also very diverse, and there are different influences which give the vines all their authenticity. Oceanic climate, mountain climate and Mediterranean climate then rub shoulders to offer very different wines, at the Very complete aromatic palette.
Southwest grape varieties
L'History of southwest vineyards allowed this wine region to reference by less than 300 varieties of grape varieties. Among them, there are 120 indigenous grape varieties, which is not found anywhere else, like plum or little manseng. More or less known, let's take stock of Main grape varieties in the southwest Used for the vinification of white and red wines, sometimes even rosy wines.
The red grape varieties of the southwest vineyards
The South West wine region has 7 Red grape varieties Main used to make wine.
- The negrette : native of the southwest, this red grape of the Prunelard family gives rosy and fruity rosé and red wines, where there are notes of violet and leather;
- the dug : this red grape variety is probably one of the oldest grape varieties in Tarn, and gives a little tannic and colorful red wine, with aromas of pepper and spices;
- the tannat : from the Adour, it is used in assembly for the names Tursan and Irouléguy, and makes it possible to obtain balanced and flexible wines, with strong fruity aromas;
- the side : also called Malbec or Auxerrois, this grape variety gives scented and elegant guard wines, and young fruity wines;
- the Cabernet Franc : known through France and the whole world, this early grape variety gives structured and fine wines;
- the Iron Servadou : the wines from this red grape variety offer blackcurrant aromas recalling the notes of the Cabernet-Sauvignon;
- L'Abouriou : Typical grape variety of the southwest region, it gives assemblies a loaded taste and a fruity note.
The white grape varieties of the southwest vineyards
Also producing sumptuous white wines, the southwest vineyards are also the culture seat of White grape varieties specific to the region.
- the colombard : cultivated on the Côtes-de-Gascogne to produce brandy (Armagnac), this white grape also gives expressive dry wines, with aromas of grapefruit;
- the manseng : Coming from the Basque Country, this grape is used to make dry or soft wines that have beautiful acidity and aromas of exotic fruits;
- the far from the eye : this grape from Gaillac produces dry wines with yellow fruit notes, and very concentrated soft wines;
- The mauzac : very versatile, this grape is used for the development of effervescent wines, dry whites and soft whites, where we typically recognize the aromas of green apple;
- the manseng : Coming from the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, this grape variety makes it possible to make very aromatic sweet or mild wines, with a development of truffle notes during aging.
The names of southwest wines
The Southwest wines Can boast of a certain originality, marked by the specificity and uniqueness of the terroirs of the region. There are several AOP/AOC and IGP in the southwest vineyards.
- 16 names of controlled origin, such as AOC Gaillac, AOC Madiran, AOC Fronton, AOC Cahors, AOC Coteaux-du-Quercy ...;
- 11 IGP, such as IGP Côtes-de-Gascogne, IGP Côtes-du-Tarn, IGP Gers, IGP Côtes-du-Lot, IGP Landes ...
There is also a regional IGP, County Tolosan.
Fourth wine region of France, the Southwest vineyard Produces wines exported worldwide, and recognized for their great qualities. Meet these vineyards spread over the Occitanie region and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, and discover unique wines.