From €11.70, £13.41, 17 Swiss francs, $23
Jurançon is one of those delicious white wines that is far too easy to overlook, coming as it does from the far south west corner of France and not really related to anything else much. It comes in all sweetness levels and I particularly love Jurançon Moelleux, which depends for its sweetness on grapes drying on the vine rather than botrytis, deliberately stopped fermentation or extended drying after harvest.
But Camin Larredya, La Part Davan 2010 Jurançon is dry, though far from vapid. Gros and Petit Manseng are the usual grapes responsible for Jurançon and they are delightfully tangy – so much so that these bright yellow/green wines seem almost to vibrate in the glass. This dry Jurançon has a relatively high proportion of the more intense Petit Manseng, 45%, with 55% Gros Manseng. Like so many white wines from south west France, no matter what the grape varieties, it smells of apple skins. It’s also so intensely aromatic – crisp, bone dry yet as though it has very high extract – that it reminded me of a fine Savennières from the Loire. The nose was quite entrancing – almost truffley – and I could imagine just nosing it and finding that perfectly satisfying. On the palate the acidity asserted itself more obviously so it’s very refreshing and stimulating, despite its sturdy 14% alcohol. I gave it 16.5 out of 20 and reckon it should drink well over the next four or five years.
I tasted this at a big tasting of recent finds at The Sampler, the enterprising pair of independent wine shops in London N1 and SW7, where there are always dozens of fine wines on taste – at a price. They are offering it at £14.90 a bottle off the shelf and £13.41 from their website. Also in the UK, Berry Bros are offering it at £16.95 and Christopher Keiller and H2Vin are offering it by the dozen. It’s also available in the US as well as in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
This is a lovely part of the world, as you can see from the terrain behind winemaker Jean-Marc Grussaute, who has been cultivating the vines on ‘our little hill’ with his mother for the last 20 years. He also points out that Camin means ‘path’, a Béarnais variant of chemin. Yes, this is the green home of sauce Béarnaise where you are always aware of the Pyrenees in the distance (and the gastronomic shrine that is San Sebastian just on the other side of them). Mmmmm.