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Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh

by Tom Cannavan 2011

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.

MADIRAN & PACHERENC WINES

See all UK stockists of Madiran on wine-searcher, and all stockists of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh on wine-searcher.

white wines

Château de La Motte, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec 2010
Deliciously tangy, sweet fruit with masses of pear and orange fruitiness and a deep nectarine quality. Oak fills in softly with vanilla, but delightful natural concentration and tangy grapefruit and orange acidity. This vineyard is in its second year of conversion to organic farming and this cuvée comes from the second pass through the vineyard. 90/100.

Domaine Berthoumieu, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Vieilles Vignes Sec 2010
50% Gros Manseng 50% with Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu 25%, this comes from 50-year-old vines on gravelly clay, harvested at the start of October. Half is vinified in tank, half in new oak barriques. Lots of nutty, lightly oxidised style here, with tight, elderflower and greengage fruitiness and the palate that delivers a lemony, dry punch. Lots of extract and that nuttiness comes through. Dry, uncompromising food-friendly stuff. 90/100. £12.99 Caves de Pyrène

Jean-Luc Argel, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec 2010
Youthful, juicy, the grapefruit and tangerine tang fills the nose and mouth, with perhaps a slightly more open-textured character, but the tight, searing acidity comes through. 91/100.

Jean-Luc Argel, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh 2009
Big dried fruit nose, almost ripe sultana notes, plenty of that apricot character. Gentle vanilla smokiness too. Delightful palate with some barley sugar sweetness and that apricot depth, but again, lovely acidity, with a big tangerine tang that braces the palate. 92/100.

Cave de Crouseilles, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Prélude à l'Hivernal 2010
Harvested between 20th and 24th December, this is super sweet, glycerine-rich stuff with a real dried apricot flavour and fabulous intensity again. That decisive orange acidity and the nectarine and apricot richness is fabulous. 92/100.

Cave de Crouseilles, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Prélude à l'Hivernal 2004
Slightly rotty feeling here that detracts from the purity of the fruit that is a hallmark here. Still has that orange tang and decisive acid profile, but just a little less clean. 88/100.

Emmanuel et Vincent Lagrave Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Tardive 2009
Finer, sweet pear fruit here and some sense of minerality too. It has lovely sweetness, but it is the sweetness of very ripe fresh pear and orange, rather than the dried fruits. Only hints of toast and a very fresh finish with real tang. 91/100.

Emmanuel et Vincent Lagrave Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Tardive 2010
Has that similar nimble character, with the oak a little more obvious at this stage, but a similar, racy finesse. Huge tang and refinement of the palate, with massive grapefruity concentration of acidity, but that lovely glace fruit freshness is there. 92/100.

Producteurs de Plaimont, Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh Saint Sylvestre 2009
Harvested 31st December. Lovely nose, with a honeyed note, lots of refined, juicy fruit and ripe melon, a certain creaminess to the texture but deliciously racy lime zest finish. 90/100.

Producteurs de Plaimont, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Saint Albert 2008
Gros Manseng 50%, Petit Manseng 30%, Arrufiac 10%, Petit Courbu 10%. Obvious ripeness and sweetness, figgy and quince like, with a nicely vegetal streak some asparagus. Lovely sweetness from the late harvest, hand-picked grapes. The peach and ripe pear sweetness tempered by lots of lemony, quite mineral acidity. Fairly light, but long and persistent. 90/100. £17.99, Nicolas

Château d'Arricau Bordes, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh 2007
Very straightforward it seems, with lots of toasty and sweet apricot fruit, good acidity but a real tangy finish, with pithy grapefruit that lifts this, giving it great verve and punch in the finish and that natural concentration. 89-90/100.

red wines

Producteurs de Plaimont, Maestria Madiran 2009
Tannat. Lots of brightly-focused fruit, with a chocolate density and just an echo of Tannat's more rustic side. The palate has a bright, primary fruitiness too - a slightly floral-edged blue-black svelteness and that tight tannat acidity pushing through. 88/100.

Cave de Crouseilles, Prenium de Crouseilles Madiran 2008
Very silky, smooth and refined this tannat, with a creaminess and plushness to the fruit, the mouth-feel is beautifully sweet and plush, the acidity is lovely and fresh. Very nice wine. 90/100.

Cave de Crouseilles, Prenium de Crouseilles Madiran 2004
Delicious, similar, showing similar silkiness and smooth, modern refinement. 89/100.

Domaine Berthoumieu, Madiran Cuvée Charles de Batz 2006
Tannat with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this comes from 50-year-old vines and spends 12 months in new barriques. Rich, dark, black plum and olive, very sinewy and tight, with a blue/black richness and edge of woodsmoke, lovely concentration. The palate is dry and savoury, with a tight, meaty intensity and lovely tannin and acid balance that keeps it fresh. 91/100.

See all UK stockists of Madiran on wine-searcher, and all stockists of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh on wine-searcher.

for our in-depth Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh feature