Posted by: tomciocco | June 11, 2008


Caves du Plaimont , a large cooperative producer is one with which I’m quite familiar (I always thought their Madiran was a STEAL). The company draws fruit from a fairly wide array of regions near the city of Pau in southwestern France. If you bounce around their site (and can read a bit of French – the English language section seems to be out of order) from the link above, you’ll see that they produce AOC and Vin de Pays wines, and indeed the sunny Colombelle VdP Gascogne Blanc 2006 is “just” a “country wine”, but what delightful little country…

As per the label on the bottle, Colombelle is blend of 70% Colombard and 30% Ugni Blanc (the website suggests a slightly different blend, but that’s quite normal for Vs.dP) These grapes are not Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (nothing wrong with these, though), and that’s good. Colombard is a variety that may be the offspring of the the Loire’s great white vine Chenin Blanc and a fairly obscure eastern French/Swiss white variety called Gouais Blanc. Gouias is often referred to as the “Casanova of grapes” since its peculiar DNA “leafprint”, so to speak, shows up in numerous other minor white varieties from Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. The other variety in the mix, Ugni Blanc, is none other than what the Italians call Trebbiano (though there are many “trebbiani” in Italy) and is also THE grape used for the production of Cognac. It is not often thought of as a “noble” white variety though it is fresh and crisp and reliable in the vineyard.

This wine is not a complex, thought provoking wine – just the opposite – it’s pretty simple, but what IS there in the glass is unimpeachable…Here’s another pass at it – This wine would be potentially VERY dangerous on a hot summer day/warm summer night. It only rings the bell at 11.5% alcohol, and it’s downright quafferific, so I’d dare say that being able to swallow a whole bottle of this solo is well within reach for many. I drank it with food (though I can’t for the life of me remember what), and its broad acidity and sassy overall attitude made it a real food flirt – think cold salads/meats, and lean, white fish or scallops or ceviche…

Caves du Plaimont “Colombelle” Vin du Pays Gascogne 2006

Very pale but bright straw color with greenish highlights. Nose of grapefruit spray and vanilla bean and tropical fruit notes underneath with just a hint of kerosene. The palate has a nicely glycerin-y mouthfeel with flavors of tart grapefruit juice,  and a splash of peach juice, and peach pit. Not complex but bold, clean and “spritely”.




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