DiscoverVin in Basque Country

The DiscoverVin wine team are in the Pyrenees and south west this week! Visiting wineries (domaines /chateaux) meeting suppliers of our premium, value for money wines from the S.W. of France. Jurancon is the appellation for sweet and dry white wines using Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng grapes. Madiran uses Tannat for red wines and also use the Mansengs for the luscious Pachenranc de Vic Bilh appellation. 
First stop is the gorgeous port town of St Jean de Luz in the Pays Basque. A beautiful long sandy beach in a protected bay with a gorgeous and historic old town. Mix of architecture - some half timbered buildings with steep roofs and colourful basque shutters and more neo-classic buildings with iron work. Beautiful shops below and apartments on the upper floors. Pedestrians stroll past chic shops with basque linen, clothes, homewares, basque speciality foods and wine, artisinal ice cream makers and of course the odd souvenir shop. Overall one of the most elegant sea-side towns we have seen - full of character. It would be nice to linger for a week!
Arrived late yesterday evening and enjoyed some seafood at Txalupa restaurant overlooking the harbour, bobbing with yachts. Apparently Txalupa means boat in Basque. Enjoyed a mixture of fish and prawns cooked a la plancha (bbq), delicious with a Domaine Brada white from Irouleguy - manseng grapes - fruity but crisp - great match. And of course needed to be reaquainted with Manzana, the local liquer made from apples. Great end to the day, served with ice and has about 18% alcohol like a port rather than the higher alcohol content of grappa etc
Heading into the hills this afternoon to meet some winemakers. Irouleguy is the appellation for today's visit. They also make whites from the Manseng and reds from classic Bordeaux varieties. We don't have any wines from this hard to pronounce appellation in the portfolio yet, but hope to find some today.

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