The two appellations of Madiran AC (red) and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh AC (white) were created in 1948, and the village of Madiran (65 Hautes-Pyrenees, Occitanie) will be celebrating with the Fete du Vin 15 August 2019 and Music in Madiran various dates from 13 – 27 July 2019 (Musique en Madiran).
These 2 appellations are typical of the South West of France – producing distinctively different styles of wine from lesser-known grape varieties – predominantly Tannat for the Madiran, Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng for the usually sweet Pacherenc-du-Vic Bilh. These are not necessaily “fashionable” wines but they are interesting, characterful, honest wines, which are no longer just rustic curiousities. Modern wine-making techniques enable skilled winemakers to produce more approachable wines whilst retaining the essential character which distinguishes them from the mainstream.
Didier Barre produces wonderfully rich and smooth Madiran wine at Domaine Berthoumieu – his sweet Pacherenc is a delicious, complex perfumed dessert wine. Another top producer is the Laplace family at Chateau d’Aydie.
The excellent co-operative Producteurs Plaimont produces good examples of the regions wines.
For more info in the Fete du Vin and Music in Madiran see www.tourisme-vicbilh.fr
The story of Madiran began in the 11th century when Benedictine monks settled in the area and established the Madiran Priory. The monks developed rudimentary winemaking techniques, primarily intended for local use and for Pyrenean mountain dwellers. At this time it was easy to make wine in Madiran as the grapes were abundant. With its “rustic” qualities and its ability to withstand transport, Madiran wine was often used to supplement wines from other regions in years when harvests were meagre.
Gradually Madiran wine quite naturally became a communion wine. It gained its reputation from pilgrims on the St James’ Way taking the route between Aire-sur-Adour and Lescar.
During the 17th century, with the development of maritime transport via the Adour River and the port of Bayonne, Madiran wines started to become popular in Northern countries. Holland was the first to welcome sweet Pacherenc wines, soon followed by Madiran red wines. www.madiran-story.fr