Import Selection: Cotes du Gascogne, 1991. Domaine du Mage

In the heart of the Armagnac countryside in the southwestern part of France known as Gascony lies the beautiful 75 acre estate of the Domaine du Mage. This part of France, which is also known for its gastronomy and general “joie de vivre” is often sadly forgotten by visitors coming to France. Not only does it have some of the pret­tiest scenery, but the people are warm, friendly and passionate about their local products of Ar­magnac and its charming white wines.

The Domaine du Mage is locat­ed just outside the sleepy country town of Eauze. It is the property of Maiti Grassa, who runs it day to day, and her brother, Yves, who is responsible for the vineyards and the winemaking. The Grassa fami­ly has been making great Armag­nacs (brandy) for many years, but only in the past 20 years, since Yves decided to explore the possi­bility of producing white wines from their property, have they be­come famous for their outstanding white wines.

Today, Yves Grassa is looked upon as one of the foremost young white wine makers in France. He is producing stunning wines that are packed with freshness and fruit. He has installed the most modern winemaking equipment possible and has brought the wine world’s attention to this hitherto unknown wine producing region.

The grapes used in production of the Domaine du Mage are main­ly the Ugni Blanc (used to make the famed Cognacs) and Colom­bard. The grapes are harvested ear­ly in September to prevent them from too much sugar content. Fer­mentation is prolonged at low tern­peraturesto allow the must to ab­sorb all the fruit qualities. The Ugni Blanc and Colombard are fermented separately and the “as­semblage” is not done until Febru­ary. At that time, Yves and Maiti taste all the different parcels and decide upon the blend for that vint­age of Domaine du Mage. The Ugni Blanc brings finesse, style and fragrance, whereas the Colom­bard adds depth and fresh fruit qualities.

This 1991 Domaine du Mage has a wonderful fragrant bouquet of wild flowers and apricots. On the palate it is crisp with medium body and a trace of “spritz” (from its youth). The flavor is packed with melon, lichees and tropical fruits. It finishes dry and crispy-clean.

Serve chilled with grilled trout, orange chicken or as a sum­mertime sipper.

Cellaring Notes: Fresh and lively now, enjoy through 1993.

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