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Domaine Castéra Jurançon Sec '21
Jurançon is a small appellation in southwestern France, about 60 miles east of the Atlantic Ocean and north of the Pyrenees. Domaine Castéra was purchased in 1895 by the Lihour family and was devoted to polyculture and cattle until 1995, when Christian Lihour focused on wine production. His son Franck took over in 2014, and he farms organically and biodynamically and has replanted some of the region’s mostly abandoned native varieties.
The majority (90%) of Domaine Castéra’s vines are planted to Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, but Franck is more passionate about local varieties such as Petit Courbu, which has less concentration than the Mansengs but notable finesse and acidity. Castera is in the northeast of the appellation, where the bedrock consists of poudingue de Jurançon, derived from the English word “pudding.” The rock was named because it looks somewhat like a fruit pudding. It is a conglomerate containing at least 50% alluvial gravels and cobbles (the fruit) loosely cemented together by limestone (the batter). The gravels and cobbles are rocks that were eroded from the Pyrenees by glaciers, then transported by torrents and rivers.
The Jurançon Sec is a blend of Gros Manseng (70%) and Petit Courbu (30%) from the lieu-dits Caubeigt and Tauzy. All grapes are hand-harvested. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed, and fermentation is carried out with ambient yeast. The wine is aged in used demi-muids and barrels, sandstone eggs, and stainless steel tanks. No fining, light filtration.
Salty, savory, dry, and crisp, try it with smoked fish; dishes with curry or saffron; or chèvre or a sheep’s milk cheese, such as Ossau-Iraty.
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