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The Southwest of France is a treasure trove for some of the most interesting wines. Often made by producers who have to work harder than elsewhere, the difficult to remember appellations and varietals offer great value for everyday drinking.

vignoble

 

The Jurançon region, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, is a tiny 13 square kilometers with only 1,200 hectares under vine. Farmers here plant mainly Petit and Gros Manseng, of which close to 70% is sweet wine.

In its sweet form the Petit Manseng is a force at the dining table. Intense with sappy acidity, its fruit profile ranges from orange peel, apricot, pineapple, to passion fruit and even ginger. A late harvest wine like Cuvee Jean has  about 72 grams per liter; but then there are also more unctuous bottlings made from shriveled grapes (passerillage).

This versatile wine will pair well with any salty like an ewe cheese, duck liver with sweet compote, or dessert with tropical fruits found in Thailand including pineapple and passion fruit. On a hot day, just sip on it alone.

chateaujolys_cuveejean

This late harvest wine shows both intense acidity and intense richness. Honey, perfumed lemon and ripe apple notes come together.” Wine Enthusiast 91p