Gascony used to be regarded as foie gras and Armagnac country (not necessarily at the same time) until the Producers Plaimont co-operative came along and changed the image of the region’s dry reds and whites. Le Faîte is their top white blend, made from a trio of local grapes – Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu – and is a stunning cuvée, somewhere between a Spanish Albariño and a Greek Assyrtiko in style. Pithy, saline and very complex, with quince, apple and grapefruit flavours, mouth-watering acidity and the concentration to age brilliantly in bottle.
White Varietal: Petit Courbu
2011 Finest* Saint Mont, Gascony( £6.99 down to £5.24, 12.5%, Tesco )
The brilliant Plaimont co-operative has done stellar work teasing interesting flavours out of its mostly little known local grapes (Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arufiac, in case you wanted to work on your ampelography skills). This pithy, unoaked blend has plenty of perfume and zesty flavours of pink grapefruit and cox’s apple. The finish is appealingly dry and even a little chalky.
2010 Le Passé Authentique, Producteurs de Plaimont, Saint-Mont, South-West France( £9.99 down to £7.99, 13%, Waitrose )
There aren’t many (any?) wines on supermarket shelves made from three such obscure varieties as Gros Manseng, Arrufiac and Petit Courbu, but that’s only one reason for buying this wine, especially on a deal at £7.99. It’s crunchy, refreshing and unoaked with notes of pink grapefruit, apricot and lemon zest, with an underlying note of stony minerality. The wine lingers on the tongue like a haunting refrain.