Friday, June 29, 2007

Normandy: 2005 Domaine Bellegarde La Pierre Blanche

After speed-touring Paris, we headed for Normandy, with the coastal fare a perfect match for a number of French white wines. In Arromanches we checked in at the Hotel La Marine, with a demi-pension rate that assured us a table for breakfast and dinner overlooking the English Channel and the D-Day beaches.

Despite the fact that dinner was "included" with our room, this was a serious seaside restaurant with a wonderful selection of seafood and Norman cuisine (i.e. Camembert and cream sauces, tripe), with the catch brought in fresh from local fishermen every day. I had every intention of going for the seafood (tripe is a taste I have not yet acquired...), and after my success at Perraudin in Paris I went for their "Vin du mois" - another success! This was especially gratifying, as I have never tried a wine from Jurancon before, sweet or dry.

The 2005 Domaine Bellegarde "Cuvee La Pierre Blanche" is a blend of gros manseng (20%, 50-60 year old vines) and petit manseng. Golden yellow in the glass, it burst forth with lemon and butter, pineapple and white flowers - very nice. Rich, balanced, lemony, minerally, with a nice crisp acidity - a beautiful match for Salmon Tartar (appetizer) and Ray doused in Norman butter. Service was slow, but the quality of the food, the view, and the delicious wine made up for it.
13.5% (?) alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: €28 (menu)

8 comments:

Brooklynguy said...

I've never had a Jurancon wine either, save for a sip at a huge tasting. Couldn't process it. I believe that the wine you tasted was excellent, but I also believe that they could have served you antifreeze and in that setting, with that food, you might have enjoyed it a little...

Joe said...

Yeah, antifreeze would have worked just fine. But I REALLY liked this one - the petit chablis was ok, and probably scored high due to the setting...

Marcus said...

Jurancon is so underused it's silly.

I had one on the occasion of my birthday last year. It was destined to be our dessert wine but was subbed in after a top-flight Riesling. Was outstanding in this role of aperatif wine and followed the '94 Riesling well. I was amazed. And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Joe said...

Funny, you had the dry Jurancon for desert? Moelleux - was it a sparkler?

Marcus said...

Domaine Bellegarde Jurançon sec Cuvée Tradition Moelleux 2002

Moelleux and sec... good point. I don't quite get it myself (Sweet and dry) but I can't argue with it. In a way I remember being kind of pleased that we ended up having before the meal rather than after. But it's sold as both an aperitif wine and dessert wine, but definitely not sparkling.

Joe said...

Our Jurancon was a VERY dry white (no Moelleux on the label) so when I read yours I was confused at first! I know Jurancon is famous for the sweet ones, so I was very intrigued by this 'dry' offering at the restaurant. Thanks for the heads up - I would have gone and bought one of those sweet and dry wines at the SAQ to revisit this experience!

Pascal Labasse said...

Dear Joe,

First of all I would like to thank you for these excellent comments on the Pierre Blanche.
I am writting you from Domaine Bellegarde in Jurançon and I would like to tell you that it is always a great pleasure for us to read such comments.

Many thanks for beeing an ambassador of the Jurançon wines.

Best regards.

Joe said...

Hi Pascal. I have always loved my red Cahors and Madiran, but this was my first dry Jurancon. Spectacular, and many congrats to your team! I will be writing some more on Jurancon in the near future as part of my South West France coverage.
Unfortunately, the SAQ (the Quebec liquor monopoly) doesn't have any in stock. You should call them and tell them to stock more of your wines!
I hope to come see you someday - the beautiful vines are beckoning!