Tannat is one of the most distinctive grapes of the Southwest. Tannat produces tannic, full-bodied, deeply colored wines with black and red berry fruit character and a distinct earthiness. It is the dominant variety in Madiran, and is used in other regions as well.
Among the more important regional white grapes are Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng. These are used in Jurançon and Pacherenc de Vic Bihl among others. The two may be blended, but for the most part, Gros Manseng is used in dry wines and the Petit Manseng is used in dessert wines. They give an exotic, almost tropical fruit character with a spicy edge, retaining their high acidity, even at high levels of ripeness. These are often blended with the more neutral Courbu, Ruffiac, Len de l’Elh and Odenc.
[Link to this Entry]