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Online Wine Shop  >  Wines by grower - alphabetical  >  Domaine de Montesquiou - Jurançon (biodynamic)

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Domaine de Montesquiou - Jurançon
Domaine de Montesquiou - Jurançon
We discovered Domaine de Montesquiou on our 2006 trip to south-west France, on the fringes of the Pyrenées, just south of Pau. This is a small, family-run estate, with just 6.5 hectares under vine, and has been handed down from father to son since the 18th century. The current winemakers are brothers Sébastien and Fabrice Bordenave-Montesquieu (Fabrice is pictured left). And if my experience of recent vintages is anything to go by, the future of the estate is in very safe hands - for the wines are fantastic!  Although not (as far as I am aware) certified as such, Sébastien and Fabrice employ many of the principles of biological and biodynamic viticulture. Detailed attention is paid to the working of the ground and the influence of the moon. To fight against pests and diseases, they only use products containing copper, sulphur and clay, together with homeopathic quantities of "herb tea" preparations popular amongst biodynamicists. Insecticides and herbicides are a definite no-no.

Canopy management is also crucial. The vines are trained high (to approximately 2.4m), with the aim of maximising the leaf area, whilst also ensuring good circulation of air and minimising the opportunity for pests and diseases to take hold. The result is healthy grapes with both high sugar content and maximum phenolic ripeness - i.e. perfect balance. All work in the vineyard, including of course the grape harvest, is entirely manual. It goes without saying that the wine-making process itself is as non-interventionist as possible - healthy grapes make healthy wine!  I should also mention the labels. Quite apart from being things of real beauty, the subject matter depicting a ladybird on a vine tendril and two silhouetted figures enjoying a glass of wine next to a barrel (also cunningly evoking a crescent moon) make a strong statement about biodynamic principles and respect for the land. Everything about this estate is central to our philosophy of offering top-quality wines from small independent growers, whose passion for the vine is translated into wines of impeccable quality and breeding.

The grape varieties planted at Domaine de Montesquiou are Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng and Courbu - all indigenous to this corner of south-west France. The dry wines (
Jurançon Sec) are based primarily on Gros Manseng and are fresh and zingy, with lemon, lime and apple flavours and great mineral depth. The sweet wines (simply Jurançon) are full of luscious sweet fruit, balanced by the remarkable acidity offered by the Manseng varieties. Indeed, the Grappe d'Or (comprising 100% Petit Manseng) is quite simply stunning - see below for my tasting note. Jurançon may just be France's best-kept wine secret - and this particular estate may just be our greatest discovery yet. Give them a try - I promise you will not be disappointed!

Domaine de Montesquiou l'Estela 2012 Jurançon Sec
Domaine de Montesquiou l'Estela 2012
Vintage
2012
Region Jurançon - south-west of Pau, in deepest SW France
Colour/Style Dry white, aged on its lees (in vat - no oak) for 6 months
Grapes 50% Gros Manseng, 10% Petit Manseng, 40% Courbu
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Salmon, shellfish, chicken, stir fry, or as an aperitif
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 2 to 3 years

Clear, pale silvery-gold colour, with a lovely nose of freshly-cut lime, grass, nettles and pea pods. Very floral, too, redolent of spring flowers and elder blossom, dried herbs and a real sense of stony minerality. The flavours are intensely fresh and focused, zingy rather than pithy, with flavours of lime and lemon zest, hints of tart apple and a touch of peach. Medium-bodied, but with excellent concentration of fruit, wrapped around a core of intense minerality and quite breathtaking acidity. Subtle ginger and spice notes linger on a persistent, mouth-watering finish. If you appreciate delicate, nervy whites light and fresh on the palate, yet with tremendous depth and complexity - then you will love this wine. Furthermore, whilst it is wonderful to drink on its own, it is also a superb match for all manner of foods. Wonderful to drink now, or over the next couple of years - and really benefits from plenty of air. Amazing quality/price ratio, and one of the finest bargains on our list.

 

Price:  £10.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Montesquiou Cuvade Préciouse 2012 Jurançon Sec
Domaine de Montesquiou Cuvade Preciouse 2012
Vintage
2012
Region Jurançon - south-west of Pau, in deepest SW France
Colour/Style Dry white, aged in oak barrels for 10 months
Grapes 70% Gros Manseng, 30% Petit Manseng
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Aperitif, hard cheeses, lemon chicken, risotto, salmon
Next day
Even better - keeps for days in the fridge
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years

A bright, medium-pale, limpid gold colour. This really is a spectacularly lovely and considerably complex wine, with such an evocative nose, full of prickly lime, lemon and herby aromas, an abundance of wet stone minerality and just the merest hint of oak. In fact, the oak is less prominent than in previous vintages, which for me makes it all the more expressive and tempting - it just cries out to be tasted! And the palate certainly lives up to the billing, with all of those elements melding together in perfect harmony. It bites, yet at the same time caresses, with bucket loads of white fruit and citrus, wrapped around an immense core of steely, stony minerality and mouth-watering acidity. It all falls together so beautifully and keeps you coming back for more. I would lay money on any lover of fine white Burgundy going a bundle on this and wondering why they pay such large sums of money, when they could have top Jurançon for a fraction of the price. With each successive vintage, I struggle to see how it can better the previous one - but it usually does, and this one certainly fits the bill. A simply wonderful, life-affirming wine. Biodynamic.
Currently out of stock - 2013 vintage will arrive October 2014.

 

Price:  £12.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Domaine de Montesquiou Grappe d'Or 2011 Jurançon
Domaine de Montesquiou Grappe d'Or 2011
Vintage
2011
Region Jurançon - south-west of Pau, in deepest SW France
Colour/Style Sweet white, aged in oak barrels for 11 months
Grapes 100% Petit Manseng
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Blue cheese, foie gras, smoked salmon, tarte tatin, lemon layer or Sussex pond pudding, or simply as an aperitif
Next day
Indestructible - lasts for weeks in the fridge
Drink Now, or over the next 10-plus years

The grapes for this wine are harvested deep into November, by which time they have begun to dry on the vine, concentrating the flavours, whilst retaining all of the bracing acidity which is the hallmark of Petit Manseng. The colour is a very enticing shiny, rich yellow-gold. The nose has everything, from tangy lemon and lime oil, baked apples and apricots, through to figs, toffee, ginger and exotic spices and herbs. And it almost goes without saying that you can smell the minerality. The palate hits you with a mouthful of sweet, rich apricot and peach flavours, with a viscous but never gloopy texture, and all manner of fresh and preserved citrus and tree fruit flavours. And then, milliseconds later, you get that incredible wave of nervy acidity and steely minerality, followed by a warm, spice and ginger hit at the end. Not that anything sticks out, as it all comes together beautifully, in a wine that keeps you coming back for more. And with every sip, it reveals yet more layers of complexity and wonderfulness! This is the 7th vintage of this wine that I have had the pleasure of writing-up, and not one has ever failed to bowl me over. And this one is no different - it really is a quite stunning wine, and one which I could never tire of drinking.

 

Price:  £16.75 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Montesquiou Vendanges Tardives 2010 Jurançon
Domaine de Montesquiou Vendanges Tardives 2010
Vintage
2010
Region Jurançon - south-west of Pau, in deepest SW France
Colour/Style Sweet white, aged in oak barrels for 18 months
Grapes 100% Petit Manseng
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Blue cheese, foie gras, smoked salmon, tarte tatin, lemon layer or Sussex pond pudding, or simply as an aperitif
Next day
Indestructible - lasts for weeks in the fridge
Drink Now, or over the next 10-plus years

This is made from the estate's oldest Petit Manseng vines, with grapes harvested during a succession of "tries" (passes) through the vineyard, during late November and early December. Read my note on Grappe d'or (above) and then add on another month or so of hang time on the vines and a few more superlatives, and this is what you get. Several more notches up the ripeness scale, this really is a super-concentrated version. Pure 24 carat gold in colour, with a nose that possesses everything that Grappe d'Or has, along with candied fruits of all descriptions and colours and notes of toasted almonds, diesel and woodsmoke, basil and oregano. A hint of honey even suggests a touch of botrytis (on both the nose and palate) whilst the acidity is definitely more tangerine and seville orange than the lemon/lime of its sibling, still wonderfully bracing and tangy, but richer and fuller, and with all sorts of apple crumble, honeycomb, raisin and mixed spice things going on. At £28 for a full 75cl bottle, this really does provide amazing value for money. Plus of course it will keep for weeks, or even months in the fridge, once opened - if you can resist, that is! A quite extraordinarily lovely wine.

 

Price:  £27.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mailing list
Our list is constantly evolving, so if you would like to receive our occasional e-mail newsletter (around 8 times per year) click the logo >>>>


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Minimum order value, delivery charges, times and restrictions
We deliver only to UK and Northern Ireland addresses. The minimum order value is £75 (plus the delivery charge). You may of course choose a mix of any wines in our range. Orders between £75 and £200: delivery charge is £7.50. Orders over £200: delivery is free! (If your order is over £200, please remember to change the delivery charge in checkout to £0.00). Please note: Delivery to non-mainland addresses (Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, etc.) is usually possible, but may not be on a next-working-day basis. It is also more expensive than delivery to mainland addresses, so will be charged at cost (for orders under £200) but with a small discount for orders over £200 - please call us for a quote.

Warning - you must be aged 18 or over
It is an offence to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol if you are under the age of 18. (Section 149 Licensing Act 2003).We reserve the right to seek proof of age. Leon Stolarski says "drink less, but drink better!" Please consume alcohol in moderation.