The history of Jurançon begins in effect with Henri IV, born in Pau when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre...Read more...
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The history of Jurançon begins in effect with Henri IV, born in Pau when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre. The story is that during his christening his lips were rubbed with Jurançon and cloves of garlic, the prelude to any great reign one would imagine. The area of Jurançon lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The town of Gan marks the eastern limit of the vineyards and La Chapelle-de-Rousse is the village name you will commonly see on growers' bottles. The slopes here are very steep; the south-west facing vines require a long growing period. In a good vintage the results can be stunning. The wines range from a dry almondy style with aromas of fresh hay and lemon-zest through the mellow marzipan brioche flavours of moelleux, to the spectacular late-harvested nectars made from the Petit Manseng grape with their beautiful bouquet of honey and flowers and opulent flavours of guava, pineapple and nutmeg. To the west and, at a much lower altitude, lies the commune of Monein and therein some of the great white wine makers in southern France. Growers such as Charles Hours, Jean-Bernard Larrieu and Henri Ramonteu are thinkers and innovators engaged in continuous debate with fellow growers about the styles of the wines they are producing particularly with regard to the role of oak. If one had to distinguish between the wines of Chapelle-de-Rousse and Monein it would be that the former have higher acidity and are a touch more elegant whilst the latter are more vinous and richer. The vines of Clos Lapeyre face southwards towards the hound's-tooth Pic du Midi d'Ossau with maximum exposure to sunlight yet simultaneously protected from strong winds. The 12ha vineyard has been exhaustively mapped and analysed for soil composition to obtain a profile of the microbial activity in the vineyard and as a result divided into twelve segments, each of which are treated according to how the soil, and, by definition, the vine needs to be nourished. Jean-Bernard Larrieu is one of the poets of Jurançon. The old vines (vitatge vielh) cuvee sees some new oak, has a proportion of Petit Manseng (20% and also Petit Courbu 20%), and is richer still with a powerfully oily texture.
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