Friday, July 2, 2010

20 Madiran Producers Have Joined Forces and Founded Generation Madiran

Picture: The Winemakers of Generation Madiran

20 producers from the Madiran region in France decided to join forces and founded Generation Madiran.

Madiran is in France’s South West

Madiran is one of the many wine regions in what is generally referred to as South West France, around the village of Madiran in the Gascony.

The two Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées (AOCs) of the 1300 hectares of vineyards are: Madiran for red wines and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec for white wines.

Pircture: Map of South West France

Madiran AOC was created in 1948. Only red wine can be produced under this appellation. The main grape variety is Tannat, which must account for 40-60% of the wine and can be supplemented by Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Fer. Madiran AOC is typically deep ruby red in color and high in tannin. It needs some aging before drinking it. As a student, I always found Madiran AOC an interesting alternative to Bordeaux wines, because of the price differential. Much less known are the dry and sweet white wine and sparkling wine that the area produces.

The wines of the Madiran region have a long history. In the 11th century the Benedictines founded the abbey of Madiran and improved the quality of the vines. The pilgrims of St Jacques de Compostelle passed through this region and spread word of the excellent Madiran wines.

Tannat in the Old and the New World

The home of Tannat is the South West France, including Madiran. I also like Tannat from Irouleguy at the Spanish border. But Tannat now has become the most prominent grape in Uruguay, where it is considered the "national grape". It is for Uruguay, what Malbec from the Cahors, also in South West France, is for Argentina. In the US, a few winemakers are experimenting with Tannat in Virginia.

The Tannat vine was introduced to Uruguay by Basque settlers in the 19th century. Along with the Manseng vine it quickly started to flourish in its new home. But similar to what happened with Malbec in the New World, the Tannat wines produced in Uruguay are different in character from Madiran wines, lighter in body, lower in tannins and smoother.

Generation Madiron

Generation Madiron is a group of 20 winemakers that have joined forces to promote their product, the Madiran wine. They have created a website, where you can find the winemakers and their winery websites. They also have opened a wine store in the village of Madiran that sells their wine. But this is all very basic. Some of the links on the web site do not work; the web site is in French only, the wine store is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday only. However, it is a start. Madiran AOC is a wonderful wine with an excellent quality-price ratio. I wish Generation Madiran all the best.

Generation Madiran

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1 comment:

  1. Being a wine lover, I enjoyed going through your blog. Keep on posting.