Domaine Bellegarde Moelleux Cuvee Thibault 2004
Other White Blends from France
This Jurançon surprises: already a wine of enjoyment, this has a the character of an age-worthy wine. Yellow-gold in color with incredible brightness. The background has hints of smoke while the bouquet is dominated by tangerines and fruit confit. In the mouth, the balance is harmonious and rich. There is a favorable evolution of flavors, a dominant core of exotic fruits. This will age well for a decade.
The Wine Advocate - "While I am cheating since its price of $25 applies to a 500 ml. bottle, I did not want to miss this opportunity to report on Bellegarde’s 100% old vines Petit Manseng 2004 Jurancon Cuvee Thibault because if you want to discover the genuine mysteries of Jurancon, here is the real deal! The concentration and sweetness of this wine (like most of its genre) originated in spontaneous desiccation of lateharvested fruit, not in botrytis. Musky, floral, candied citrus rind, and indelicate butcher shop aromas guarantee you will do a double take over a glass of this elixir (whether or not you proceed!). A veritable explosion of citrus zest, honey and flowers in the mouth continues to be accompanied by musky, carnal notes that make you wonder how they can come from grapes. The long, haunting finish is only subtly sweet, since somehow a mere 5.6 grams acidity has rendered 180 grams of residual sugar practically irrelevant. Such are the mysteries of this ultimate foie gras wine, which however will be found remarkably versatile by those who keep a bottle on hand. It will remain fresh for at least a week in your refrigerator and evolve fascinatingly in bottle for at least a dozen years."
Domaine Bellegarde Winery
Nestled in the heart of Monein's steep hills, Domaine Bellegarde is owned by the 4th generation of the Labasse family, who created the vineyard in 1926, after moving from Louisiana. It has a silt-clay soil with a lot of pebbles left by torrents and glaciers from the Pyrénées. The vinyard covers 37 acres planted with the two main varietals of the Jurancon AOC: Petite Manseng (60%) and Gros Manseng (40%).
In 1920, the grandfather started planting vines and fixed the Labasse’s family destiny. Andre, in 1960, and his son Pascal in1985 successively took over the familial tradition.
Since 1926, Domaine Bellegarde has produced dry and sweet white wines from the AOC of Jurancon. Today, Pascal Labasse continues the tradition of making dry and sweet wines.
Winemaker: Pascal Labasse View all Domaine Bellegarde Wines
About Other FrenchView a map of Other French wineries
Vin de Pays(vahn duh peh-YEE)
One of the lower levels in the French Classification system, Vin de Pays is an intermediary wine, created for vineyards who were not quite AC, but vastly superior to Vin de Table wine. Vin de Pays has restrictions similar to the AC, but on a lesser scale. Regulations include specified region, minimum alcohol level and grape varieties. The wine also goes through a tasting panel. Some winemakers able to make wine at an AC level, instead choose to create wine at the Vin de Pays level as it allows more flexibility in grape varieties and yields. There are five regional Vin de Pays, with the most popular being Vin Pays d'Oc (from Languedoc & Roussillon). Vin de Pays wines offer wonderful value and good wine finds.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.