WINE SCHOOL 17 - 23 November 2014

REGION: France > South West > Madiran

The distinctive wines of Madiran, in the far south west of France, are exclusively red. Or rather they're black, due to the presence of the inky Tannat grape which makes up at least 40% of the all the wines here.

Key red grapes: Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fer Servadou


GRAPE: Tannat

Tannat makes dense, dark wines with huge tannins. Many wines can be practically undrinkable when first released: don't bother opening a bottle that is less than five years old. Bottle ageing brings complexity and polish and Tannat made a decade ago can be a real treat.

The near black colour of the wines is typically matched by equally dark flavours: a little blackberry or black cherry, with liquorice or prune showing in maturer wines. The tannins levels demand drinking with food - duck, goose, venison or perhaps a juicy ribeye steak.

Madiran in South West France is the home of Tannat but it is also the signature grape in Uruguayan wine and is found in a number of (reportedly excellent) Brazilian wines.

Synonyms: Tanat, Moustrou, Moustroun, Harriague (Uruguay)

RECOMMENDED WINES

Next week in WINE SCHOOL: Tokaj (Hungary) & Furmint

SEARCH TRIPTYCHS
By retailer By wine name