2019 Jurançon “La Magendia”, Clos Lapeyre, Jurançon, France


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Roving Sommelier is passionate about the artisan French regional wines, especially those produced in the South-West of France. This family farm was traditional dedicated to mixed farming with livestock, small fruits and grapes which were taken to the local cooperative. From 1985 onwards, the estate was turned over exclusively to viticulture when Jean-Bernard Larrieu gave birth to Clos Lapeyre, farming his vines, fermenting his grapes, ageing his wines, bottling and then selling them. In 2000, the vineyard covered about 10 hectares and then in 2004 it grew when the magnificent, old vineyards of Domaine de Nays-Labassère were taken over, with an extra 7 hectares in the heart of Chapelle-de-Rousse.

The vineyards, which are now certified organic, are located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The local microclimate is warm with breezes from the Atlantic and Mediterranean providing the necessary humidity to promote drying, concentration and shrivelling of the grapes while still on the vine (passerillage). All grapes are hand-harvested and contain a pleasantly refreshing acidity, which keeps the wine in balance with its natural sweetness.

“La Magendìa”, which comes from the word ‘mage’ (best) in Occitan, “Préner la magendia”, means to take only the bunches or parts of bunches which carry the maximum of raisined berries. It is a harvest by successive sorting, including more than one or two ‘tries’ in the vineyard.

These grapes are picked in November, generally in two, three or four selections; the last ones take place some years in December. The golden and scorched grapes are then partly withered and dehydrated, as they have lost part of their water. The other constituents, in particular the sugars and the acidity, are concentrated thanks to the good weather and the action of the hot winds from the South: this is the mystery of ‘raisining’. The pressing is then done in a long cycle, as the juice is more difficult to extract.

For me, this type of wine is very versatile and food-friendly, as it can be drunk with savoury and sweet dishes and enjoyed with local cuisine, including foie gras and terrines, cheeses, and desserts.

Alcohol: 13% abv (37.5cl)

Closure: Cork

Grape varieties: Gros Manseng & Petit Manseng

Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fragrant, Unctuous, Citrus, Honey, Good natural acidity. Great with light, fruity desserts and blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne, Bleu des Causses, Gorgonzola, Dolcelatte etc. The sweetness in the wine matches the saltiness in the cheese beautifully.