Wines of Madiran
Madiran is a wine and wine-growing region located in Gascony in South West France. Madiran is famous for its rich and full-bodied red wines primarily made from the Tannat grape variety. It is also known for the two appellations Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec which are white wines that are made in the dry, sweet and sparkling style. These are usually made from the Courbu and Petit Manseng grape varieties.
The Madiran appellation was created in 1948 and consists of some 1300 hectares making it a relatively small AOC. Most of the wines are made with Tannat which, outside France, has been adopted as the “national grape” of Uruguay, but some producers use Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Fer although Tannat must comprise 40 to 60% of the vineyard.
Traditionally Madiran wine has been a very concentrated wine, with high tannin levels that is pretty difficult to approach until it has had several years ageing. Wine-making has been very traditional but the current generation of winemakers have started producing more modern styles of wine that are more approachable, i.e. softer and with less tannin, mainly due to the use of micro-oxygenation. Micro-oxygenation is basically introducing small amounts of oxygen to the wine and is a process developed by Patrick DuCournau in 1991 which is now also used in Bordeaux, the United States and Chile.
Madiran and The Red Wine Diet
UK research published in 2006 has identified that the naturally occurring antioxidant compounds, polyphenols known as pryocyanidins, in red wine are responsible for the reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease and the lowering of overall mortality in regular, moderate consumers of red wine. The research also identified that Madiran wines have rarely occurring extremely high concentrations of those antioxidant compounds. For further information read about Roger Corder’s Red Wine Diet.
Domaine Berthoumieu Madiran
At Fareham Wine Cellar we stock the Cuvee Charles de Batz from Domaine Berthoumieu. Domaine Berthoumieu. is a small 26 hectare estate located in the villate of Viella in the north of the Madiran appellation. The current winemaker and owner, Didier Barré, is the sixth generation to own and run the estate that has been in the same family since 1850.
Madiran Cuvée Charles de Batz, named after d’Artagnan’s pseudonym when hiding from and evading the Cardinal’s men in The Three Musketeers, is a blend of 90% Tannat with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for this wine come from low-yielding, old vines with an age of over 50 years old and are hand-picked and destemmed. The grape varieties are vinified separately with the Tannat undergoing fermentation and maceration for 30 days and the Cabernet for 21 days. The wine also undergoes malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels including 12 months in new oak barrels.
Madiran Cuvée Charles de Batz has a deep red, almost black colour. The nose is full of spicy, black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry), some red fruit notes, vanilla and toasty oak. The palate is powerful and smooth with great concentration with flavours of leathery black fruit, black pepper spice and dark chocolate characteristics. Good firm tannic backbone. Try with full-bodied meat dishes, stews, salamis, duck, confit or cassoulet.
Other highly regarded producers of Madiran include the wines of Barrejat, Bouscasse, Capmartin and Montus.