Domaine Cauhapé

Jurançon, jurancon France

In 1970, owner, winemaker and label artist Henri Ramonteu took over his family’s cattle farm in Monein in south-west France. He sold the cattle, purchased four hectares of vines and started Domaine Cauhapé. He made his first sweet wines in 1980 (historically, Jurançon produced only sweet wines) and his first dry wines in 1984. Today, the domaine is one of the most highly regarded in the appellation. It has 43 hectares of vines, planted in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on south/south-east-facing slopes up to 400 metres above sea level. The vines are on average 10 years old, sustainably farmed and planted on siliceous-clay soils, with excellent water retention properties, ensuring that the vines don’t shut down due to hydric stress in the hot, dry summer months. Vineyards are planted with Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng and Courbu as well as lesser known indigenous varieties such as Camaralet.

While Domaine Cauhapé makes a wide range of wines, we focus on two dry and one sweet wine.‘Chant des Vignes’, their Jurançon Sec, is a blend of Gros Manseng and Camaralet with perfumes of honey, stone fruit and a great finesse. The grapes are macerated for 12 hours to extract delicate aromas and are then gently pressed into temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks for fermentation, followed by four months lees ageing. Characterised by notes of fleshy stone fruit, citrus and spice,‘L'Éclipse’ is a blend of mainly Gros Manseng and 20% Lauzet, an indigenous grape to the south west, and classified as ‘Vin de France’. The grapes are harvested by hand, destemmed and macerated on skins for 12 hours before undergoing fermentation and five months lees-ageing in stainless steel. ‘Symphonie de Novembre’ is made from 100% Petit Manseng. Prized for its high acidity, which gives these historic sweet wines their lovely balance, Petit Manseng is the Jurançon’s most valued grape. The grapes for this wine remain on the vine until November, allowing them to dry and shrivel, thereby concentrating the sugars. Yields are extremely low at 28 hectolitres per hectare. After whole-bunch pressing into 10-year-old, 225 litre French oak barriques for fermentation, the wine spends 10 months in oak and four weeks in stainless steel before bottling. With aromas of honey, tropical fruits and cherry blossom, the ‘Symphonie de Novembre’ is luscious on the palate, with superb balancing acidity. These two wines are hallmark Jurançon, showcasing the very best of what the region has to offer.


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