We’ve blogged about wines from south-west area before, remarking on their distinctive nature and their quality. This Wine Society purchase is no exception. It is the Comte Philippe Nazelle 2009 Cabidos made from Petit Manseng grapes with an ABV of 14.5%. It’s a Vin du Pays Pyranees Atlantique which locates it somewhere around Pau.
The Petit Manseng, being a thick skinned grape, is resistant to rot and can therefore be left to hang well into a damper autumn. A long ‘hang time’ means more flavour, possibly more sugars – hence the hefty ABV. (I love the cause and effect of the viticultural processes; it sounds so simple but I’m sure it’s not, in practice).
The deep lemon-yellow colour reflected heralded its age but the legs were lighter than expected. The nose took some time to develop but the honey started to come through along with melon and then underripe peaches. It was nicely complex. The mouth feel was surprisingly soft, certainly weighty but with mouthwatering acidity as a balance to its richness. It was dry but without the bone-dryness that comes from minerality.
Well-made as it was, we both agreed we couldn’t drink a lot of it as the richness would be quite overpowering. It would be a fine match with a rich starter or possibly strong cheese at the end of a meal. Again, another interesting south-western wine.
As a footnote, Petit Manseng, despite its low yields, is attracting growers around the world because of its distinctive style. Has anyone seen others?
[Richard: another purchase from our trip to the Mothership earlier this year. No longer in stock (although they do a very well reviewed late picked sweet version from the same grape). About £10 I think. Interesting wine with sweet overtones yet piercing acidity. Very full on so, as Geoff suggests, a sipper not a quaffer. Stylistically it reminded me of certain beers – like JHB or Citra – which are lovely for one pint but overbearing for two.]