Between the Aveyron and Basque Country…
On the pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela, The South West France vineyard covers 500 km spread over 12 departments. Toulouse is the capital of this winegrowing "garden" where the notion of heritage takes on full meaning.
Because the South-West has so many fine indigenous grape varieties combined with such a wide range of soils and sites, it offers an extraordinary diversity of wine styles and flavours.
From the sensuously sweet wines of Jurançon to the monumental reds of Madiran and from the perfumed, easy-drinking wines of Fronton to the new black wine of Cahors, there is so much to choose from. There are deliciously delicate rosés, crisply fragrant dry whites and the apple-like sparkling wines of Gaillac – natural partners for fine food – from aperitif to dessert – and beyond.
The South-West has a unique treasure trove of grape varieties that its winemakers have played a key role in identifying, preserving and replanting. Red grapes of character and distinction include Tannat, Malbec, Négrette and Fer Servadou. Whites include the superb Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, Courbu, Mauzac and Len de L'El.
But South West France is also the birth place of the international grape varieties such as the Cabernets, Merlot, Malbec, Tannat and Colombard.
The result is a portfolio of wines full of character and style.
The South-West is justly proud of its traditions and diversity, and its winemakers are united in their passion to provide quality wine at reasonable prices.
Professor Roger Corder (Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Institute)
Corder questioned why the French have comparatively less heart disease than the rest of Europe when they regularly consume fatty food. He discovered this was particularly true in the South-West where life expectancy is significantly higher than in the rest of France.
He realised that very tannic wines from the South-West, and in particular those based on the Tannat grape such as Madiran and Saint Mont, still produced in the traditional way, have the highest procyanidin content of any wines in the world. Procyanidins are a type of polyphenol and block the production of a protein that constricts blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of blockages and heart attacks.