Chateau d’Aydie and the Laplace family are widely regarded as one of the foremost quality producers of Madiran. Frédéric Laplace was recognised as one of the pioneer winemakers – first to bottle Madiran wines and to sell them under his own name when the appellation was created in 1948 – when there was just 50 hectares of vineyard under production, compared to the 1650 hectares which now produce Madiran wines.
The whole venture is very much a family affair – the three grandsons and granddaughter of Frédéric run the estate between them – Francois in charge of the business side; Jean-Luc is in charge of wine-making; Bernard manages the vines; and Marie presides over the office, whilst their father Pierre is in semi-retirement but still very much involved.
In his new book “The New France: A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine (Mitchell Beazley Wine Guides)” Andrew Jefford says of Chateau d’Aydie “Everything is impeccably clean, minutely organised, deeply considered, exhaustively refined…. a range of model Madirans”
It is always a sure sign of excellent wines when the top restaurants in the region include them on the wine list.
Madiran has been in the headlines recently due to a new book by Richard Corder “The Wine Diet“, which extolls the health-giving benefits of the Madiran wines from South West France.
We imported 2 superb Madirans from Chateau d’Aydie and a couple of excellent Vins de Pays. The key difference between the Madirans is the percentage of the Tannat grape used.
The top cuvée is the Chateau d’Aydie – made from 100% Tannat grapes – a “grand vin” – greater power and energy with considerable fruit character (blackberries and blackcurrants), with hints of mushroom and tobacco. Aged in new oak for 12 months. (The 2001 vintage was recommended in the Guide Hachette des Vins 2003. “..intense and complex nose…fruit, menthol and woodsmoke..well balanced flavours mingled with vanilla and toast.“)
The next cuvée is Madiran AC Odé d’Aydie where the proportion of the Tannat grape is 80%. The Odé d’Aydie is made from top quality vines and aged partly in new oak barrels and partly in large oak vats. This produces a “sweeter” and richer wine than more basic Madirans, with suggestions of plums and tobacco. (Recommended in the Guide Hachette des Vins 2002. “”elegant in its deep, bright blackness, the Odé d’Aydie leaves in its trail intensely smoky aromas, fragrances of vanilla and menthol, notes of balsam…full-bodied, velvety and structured.”)
The Vins de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne carry the label “Aramis” indicative of their origin in 3 Musketeers country, and are excellent quality easy-drinking wines.