My fascination with South West France, or Sud-Ouest, is no secret by now - it’s been over a year since that Guild of Sommeliers master class that opened my eyes regarding the uniqueness and mysteriousness of wines from Sud-Ouest, and I’ve been tasting as many from that area of France as I’ve been able. The thing I love most about wines from Sud-Ouest is that they’re very terroir-expressive and while some parts of Sud-Ouest use grapes similar to those of other wine regions, the wines taste nothing like those from elsewhere.
A lot of people aren’t familiar with Sud-Ouest wines, but the ones that seem to be mentioned a bit more often than the others are Cahors (mostly Malbec) and Madiran (mostly Tannat). I do love those wines. And I also enjoy trying wines from other parts of Sud-Ouest. I make it a point to include each Sud-Ouest wine in the blog, so perhaps you’ve read about the Irouleguy, Jurancon, Saint-Mont, Marcillac, Pacherenc, Bergerac, Gaillac, Fronton, etc., that I’ve written up. This time it’s a Buzet.
Over the weekend I opened the 2008 Baron d’Ardeuil from Buzet. It’s a blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc. That sounds like a Bordeaux style blend - except it smells, tastes, and feels completely different from a Bordeaux blend. The wine is a dark red color and the rim is beginning to show some brickish coloring, and it shows characteristics of more red than dark fruit, including some stewed berry and red plum, very soft spice, and (as I had expected from a Sud-Ouest wine) an interesting mineral characteristic heading toward the finish, almost reminiscent of dry dirt, and not quite stone. The texture is very soft and smooth and the wine is clean, with a respectable finish. At around $15, I think it’s a very good value, as it’s a delicious, satisfying, versatile wine, and it’s unique.
I’ve only got one wine from Sud-Ouest left in my wine racks - a Fronton (Negrette) that I haven’t tried yet. So this weekend I ordered some more off-beat wines, and a few of them are Sud-Ouest. I look forward to tasting them soon!