If it makes you happy… #Winophiles

…it must be Sud-Ouest! There are two reasons why I love Sud-Ouest, and why their wines do make me happy. First of all, if you’re a bit of a winegeek like me, you will feel very much like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory if you see the multitude of indigenous grapes that the Sud-Ouest has. Fer Servadou, braucol, duras, abouriou, gros manseng, petit courbu, you name it! Sometimes you will find that there’s a good reason why such grapes never  achieve stardom, and that’s simply because they do not produce very interesting wines… That, however, is not the case in the Sud-Ouest. I already wrote here about a hidden gem in Gaillac, made of braucol and duras. And I strongly recommend you to try out this food wine pairing. The reason why you will not find many of these wines in your typical wine shop is simply because there’s not alot being made. Take an appellation such as Marcillac. I once enjoyed a great Marcillac from Lionel Osmin. But all in all they only have 185 hectares of vineyard. Compare that to the 117.000 hectares of vineyard in the whole of Bordeaux and you’ll be able to put things in perspective.

The second reason why I like the Sud-Ouest is because of the interesting price point of these wines. In Belgium, where I am located, it’s perfectly possible to find a good bottle from the region around 10€. I hope you agree that a genuinely good wine for 10€ is a good reason to be happy, isn’t it? Today I want to share such a bottle with you : it’s the Côtes du Marmandais 2012 of Château de Beaulieu. If you have never heard of the Côtes du Marmandais, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal!

The Côtes du Marmandais is an AOC that’s just next to the Entre-Deux-Mers, which you might know as one of the appellations of Bordeaux. As you see on the map, there are quite a few Sud-Ouest appellations in that area, such as Bergerac and Monbazillac. The vicinity of big brother Bordeaux leaves it traces. The wines coming from this corner of the Sud-Ouest are not very different from their better known neighbors. And yet they are not completely the same. In the Côtes du Marmandais, for example, the Bordeaux stars cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot can be complemented by abouriou, fer servadou, gamay and syrah. The blend in this Côtes du Marmandais of Château de Beaulieu is made of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and syrah.

cotes du marmandais - chateau de beaulieuThis is a wine that does not hesitate to lure you, spreading its luscious aromas of blueberry, blackcurrant, dark chocolate, tobacco and cedar. It melts on your tongue with ripe, but not jammy, fruit and velvety tannins. It’s five years old and perfectly ready to drink now. That’s an additional feature I like in this type of wines : you don’t always need to stock them for 10+ years before you can drink them. Not everyone has a cellar or another convenient space to put away all your favorite wines and wait until they’re ready. So that’s why it’s all the more interesting to have a couple of go-to wines, such as this one, of which you know that you can buy a bottle and drink it. We don’t always have to go through a tantric wait, do we? Immediate satisfaction can be just as good! And that’s exactly what this Château de Beaulieu gives.

If only restaurants had more of such wines on their list…

Today I joined the French Winophiles, a group of wine writers and bloggers who explore a different theme every month. When I saw that July was dedicated to the Sud-Ouest I was happy I could join them to declare my love for this interesting wine region. If I managed to trigger your interest, do not hesitate and have a look what the other Winophiles wrote about the Sud-Ouest :

If you’re on Twitter, you can also join our chat on Saturday at 10-11am CDT, that’s 17h00 in Belgium. See what we think of Southwest France, and tell us about your experiences with the wine, food, or travel in the region! Simply log into Twitter and search for the #winophiles tag, and you’re in!

18 thoughts on “If it makes you happy… #Winophiles

    1. You are in the SW? Lucky you! Are you there on holidays?
      A winery that’s also highly regarded in the Marmandais is Elian Da Ros. Haven’t tasted their wines yet, but read good reviews.

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  1. Thrilled that you featured a wine from Côtes du Marmandais! As you say, they’re similar but also different from Bordeaux. Your particular wine sounds intriguing, as does the Gaillac from Braucol and Duras grapes. Love the underdogs!

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    1. Yes, I have to admit that I am in a good location to sample wines from very different regions/countries. The diversity also plays a role, I suppose. It’s good that there still many small appellations who want to work with their own grapes, create their own styles, etc. That makes that we, wine lovers, have an unbelievable choice of wines.

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  2. A wonderful read Olivier. It seems as if the Southwest if full of hidden gems! You’re located in Belgium? My wife and I are headed that way in September. We fly into Brussels, head up to Amsterdam for a few day, then Bruges before returning to Brussels! As our plans firm up I may reach out to you for tips! I hope you don’t mind!

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  3. You are so right about the price/quality ratio of the wines from this area! The biggest challenge (for some of us in the States) is finding them. Thanks for sharing another one to add to my shopping list. Hope to see you at the next #winophiles chat!

    Liked by 1 person

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