This is a very unusual, distinctive and delicious wine. It is a blend of 80% Petit Manseng, 20% Gros Manseng from the Jurancon. Even if you travel a lot in France, you are unlikely to have visited the Jurancon. It is located in far south-west France, just north of the Pyrennes and in the middle area of that border between France and Spain. The grapes, as noted above, are Petit and Gros Manseng, both of which are intensely aromatic and flavorful. Gros Manseng generally has larger yields, but the grapes are deeply-colored yellow bordering on pinkish-grey, and the skins have high levels of tannin and color for white grapes. Consequently, they must be pressed very delicately so that the resultant juice is white rather than grayish-pink. Petit Manseng, which has similar aromas and flavors (honey, apricot and quince) is much lower-yielding with additional floral, mint and spice aromas and flavors. It adds elegance and finesse to what would otherwise be a very powerful white wine. This is a complex wine whose floral (narcissus), mint, orange zest and quince flavors are beautifully integrated and enhanced by the surprising and wonderfully refreshing acidity. While it enters the mouth with a round, almost unctuous feel, it finishes bright and fresh. Because of the body of this wine, it will easily pair with white meats. For vegetarians, try a sweet and sour tofu. We just had this with an appetizer of fresh ricotta with lavender honey and it was superb.
Domaine Bellegarde, La Pierre Blanche, Jurancon, 2006, $24.99 (biodynamic)