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Finally a Jurancon!

Beautiful dry white wines - Pre Arrival

***Pre-Arrival Expected Delivery 2nd Week of July***

Finally we get to write something about Jurancon! I used to love Jurancon (from the Pyrenees) made grapes with wonderful names like Petit Manseng and Courbu. A classic Jurancon had the bracing refreshing character of Sancerre crossed with the dry chalky character of good Chablis. I loved it. But it was hard to come by. There are certain wine regions you know are capable of producing sensational and distinct wines but for one reason or another they have not really reached that level. Jurancon is just such a region where over half the wine is made by the coop and most of the rest is made by producers who have not really caught up with the market.  At a wine fair in Montpellier recently I hit upon a very special producer. Frank Lihour is a young, fifth generation winemaker from Monein, who has lit a fire under this sleepy region with wines that sing with Jurancon purity and terroir. These wines are superb!

The first is classic, pure and like a cross between Sancerre and dry Chablis. I loved this and will enjoy drinking it at home as an aperitif and with fish.

The second is extraordinary - unique with tantalising aromas and layers of fruit and complexity. Amazing wine and absolutely knock out delicious.


Domaine Castera Jurancon Sec 2017

Jurancon | Gros manseng, petit courbu | ABV: %


  Tasting note: 

The first is classic, pure and like the cross between Sancerre and dry Chablis with freshness, purity and finesse that I loved and will enjoy drinking at home as an aperitif and with fish, salads and first courses. 

£198 when 12 bottles (£16.50) 


£105 when 6 bottles (£17.50)


Domaine Castera Tauzy 2016


Jurancon | Gros manseng, petit manseng, petit courbu | ABV: 14%


Tasting note:

The second is unique - more gourmet and extraordinarily delicious dry white. 

Tantalizing aromas of wet stone after the rain and apricot kernel on the nose, with hints of wild honey and lanolin that give it a real sense of place. As you taste, the textured layers of ripe grapefruit and flinty minerality are elegantly balanced by bracing acidity, which gives lift and definition. This is rounded off with a wonderfully long, vibrant finish and that beautiful creamy almond flavour which always reminds me of the best Comte. Delicious. Drink with richer fish and white meats and when you want a wholesome, complex, wonderful white wine experience.

£264 when 12 bottles (£22) 


£138 when 6 bottles (£23)


Serving the wines

I found that you can keep them open for 2 to 4 days and they develop, actually becoming better and more complex on day 2 with oxygen. So decant them if you wish, or just drink them over a few days. Franck has made them with oxygen, which has made them stable, so they don't fall apart the moment they are opened.


The grapes of Jurancon


Petit Courbu, is very mineral and fine with a salinity on the finish and is the perfect component to refine the more common Jurancon variety Gros Manseng.

Petit Manseng is considered a noble variety with potential of high acidity but also the ability to be harvested late typically in November. These wines give complex exotic fruit aromas such as mango, guavas, sweet spices, even truffle and petrol, depending on the vintage conditions.

Gros Manseng on the other hand, can produce some really powerful, full flavoured dry whites but with less acidity, aromas and alcohol than Petit Manseng, it is often use when picked late in the Jurançon moelleux.


Extra information about the wine and vineyards
Franck has made wines for over 10 years around the world (including, it turns out, at our friends at Beaumont winery in South Africa) where he picked up many ideas to improve the quality of wine back home. He gingerly introduced them to his father, and now has taken over the key decisions in the vineyards and winery.

Franck treats the vines with natural rather than chemical products, the soils are nourished with green manure and biodiversity is encouraged by the planting of various plants, harvesting is done by hand and in stages, with forensic attention to the quality and ripeness… The Lihour vineyards are made of three plots: Tauzy (2ha, named after the local oak), Caubeigt (8ha) and Les Terrasses (1.3h). Tauzy is based on clay limestone soils with pudding stones, les galets, like you find in Chateauneuf; this is a cooler vineyard to which the rare indigenous variety Petit Courbu - revived by Franck and his father and now cultivated by several growers in the region.


Since Franck took over the domaine, terroir expression has taken on prime importance.  Everything else is secondary. Franck has taken decisions such as to not protect the juice against oxygen, and stopping low temperatures for fermenting as he is not interested in extracting loads of aromas but have a more complex, mineral wine. Under his watch, already good vineyard standards have improved yet more, pressing has become more important (slower), while only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. The wines are quintessential Jurancon. Franck is a young winemaker that is, quite simply, taking this hugely under-appreciated appellation to the next level.


How they're made:
Jurancon Sec

The grapes come from the lieux-dits of Caubeigt and Tauzy - the gros manseng from finesse-giving clay-limestone soils, the petit courbu from sandstone with iron content, giving body and minerality. Fermentation with wild yeasts is followed by one year of ageing in used oak barrels of various sizes

Jurancon Tauzy

Grapes are picked from the family's vineyard plots in Tauzy. The soils here are clay-limestone with pudding stones. Yields are kept low (35hl/ha) to ensure good concentration, with harvest done in three stages in mid-October - the grapes as ripe as they can be without being over-ripe. Wild-yeast ferment is followed by maturation in oak barrels of different sizes on fine lees for eight months followed by a further three months in steel tank.
Domaine Castera Tauzy 2016
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Domaine Castera Jurancon Sec 2017

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