Discovery of the Jurançon vineyard at the Cave Coopérative de Gan

Gan
Share Discovery of the Jurançon vineyard at the Cave Coopérative de Gan
Discovery of the Jura ...

When you set off to explore a destination, tasting local products is essential! Béarn is a land of flavors par excellence where vineyards hold a special place. Facing the Pyrenees, Béarn can be proud of a serious oenological reference to discover during your stay. The famous Jurançon , a white, sweet and amber wine, with a controlled designation of origin, comes from carefully selected grape varieties to the delight of our taste buds. To understand this exceptional terroir, the Cave de Gan - Jurançon is an ideal starting point!


All about the AOC Jurançon

During my last road trip in Béarn, it was impossible to resist the temptation to taste the exceptional aromatic palette of the prestigious wines from the Jurançon vineyard. Although it produces dry white wines, the AOC Jurançon is renowned for its incomparable sweet golden wines, among the finest in France. Wines not to be confined to an aperitif or dessert, but which can be enjoyed on any occasion . Jurançon wines are excellent companions for starters such as foie gras, main dishes such as seafood and go perfectly with cheeses .

Jurançon vineyard and wines

Jurançon wines

Jurançon vineyard and wines

The vineyard

Nestled in an idyllic, green and sunny setting, the Jurançon vineyard covers 1300 ha, on the hillside, perched on a balcony offering breathtaking views of the Pyrenees . For lovers of good wines and authenticity as well as for novices wishing to discover the Bearn region from a new angle, the cooperative cellar of Gan-Jurançon is a must-see place which can be visited free of charge all year round. Terroir , winemaking , tasting , all the secrets of the famous Jurançon are revealed to you. Promise of a unique experience not to be missed!


Jurançon vineyard and wines

A visit to the cooperative winery with a professional guide


The tumultuous geography of the Jurançon terroir

Starting from Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the direction of Pau, I walk the hilly paths of the appellation which includes 25 municipalities around Jurançon, Gan and Monein. From the vineyard plots, the landscapes are exceptional. The Pyrenean peaks of Pic de Ger, Pic du Midi d'Ossau and Pic d'Anie loom on the horizon. The steep relief of the vineyard, surrounded by this chain of mountains, draws the identity of the vineyard and presents original characteristics in many ways.

Jurançon vineyard and wines

An exceptional vineyard and terroir

First of all by its extent and the structure of its draining silico-clay soils. The very steep terrain involves vineyard cultivation on terraces on small plots. In terms of climate, the Jurançon vineyard, facing south or southwest, benefits from the protection of the Midi d'Ossau peak. Its situation subjects it to a triple climatic influence : those of mountain harshness, the oceanic softness and the southern heat of the foehn, a dry and hot wind which blows generally in autumn and at the end of winter. Finally, the abundant Béarnaise pluviometry and the late autumn favor the over-ripening which characterizes the large mellowness.


An emblematic grape variety and late harvest

Other unique properties of Jurançon characterize this exceptional vineyard. Jurançon is a blended wine produced with the endemic grape varieties of Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng , complemented by grape varieties typical of Pyrenean vineyards such as courbus, camaralets and lauzets. The latter, in small quantities, bring spicy notes.

Jurançon vineyard and wines Jurançon vineyard and wines

The grape varieties

The Jurançon harvest is spread over 3 successive waves: the first harvest (dry Jurançon) and the second harvest (sweet Jurançon) from mid-October to mid-November, until the end of December for late harvests (rare Jurançon) .


One of the first AOC in France

With tenacity and passion, many generations of winegrowers have worked to perpetuate the excellence of the wine domain and to reflect in the wines of Jurançon the authenticity of its terroir. Representing the recognition of the profession in a defined geographical area, the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée was obtained in 1936 for the soft Jurançon and in 1975 for the dry Jurançon.


Gan cellar: an immersive visit

Characteristics specific to Jurançon which François Ruhlmann, the secretary general of the cooperative winery, sums up perfectly, warmly welcomes me to open its doors to me. " The grape varieties need to have their feet in the water and their heads in the sun, " he explains.

With a guide, I discover the main establishment and the facilities specially dedicated to wine making . On the program, all stages of production in a fascinating tour: presses and grape harvest dock in the first building, fermentation tanks and aging cellar semi-buried in another building in the complex.

Founded in 1949 , the cooperative winery, located at the entrance to the small village of Gan, has greatly contributed to the development of Jurançon and its dazzling move upmarket for 70 years. This institution now brings together over 300 winegrowers , spread over nearly 900 hectares of vines . Guarantors of traditional and ancestral viticulture , the cooperative cellar continues the methods of manual harvesting, the selection of bunches and the passerillage. Besides the production of quality wines, the vocation of the winery is to enhance and transmit this cultural, living and identity heritage.

Jurançon vineyard and wines Jurançon vineyard and wines
Grands crus
Jurançon vineyard and wines

I go through the fermentation tanks

Jurançon vineyard and wines

The aging cellar

Jurançon vineyard and wines

This artisanal know-how is highlighted in the extraordinary aging cellar of the cooperative. I discover all of the great Jurançon wines in a first room before browsing the space reserved for the vats. Then, the highlight of the show, I enter the aging cellar where thousands of bottles are stored. A sensory and experiential universe subdued with original lighting and an enchanting atmosphere! No surprise that this place is 1 kilometer of Bearn, visited by 270,000 visitors each year.


Tasting time


Jurançon vineyard and wines

Jurançon vineyard and wines

Tasting and sales area at the end of the visit

After the theory, the visit ends with an original aromatic journey : the tasting. A real moment of exchange and emotion. Dressed in a golden robe, the dry swears are round and long in the mouth with floral aromas and fresh fruit on the nose. The soft swears are rather round, sweet, with a touch of acidity and sublimate the aromas of honey, white flowers and fruits like peach or pear. Take the time to savor them , appreciate their richness and awaken unique taste sensations . A memorable experience, the real signature of a stay in the Béarnais vineyard , whether you are a budding wine-lover or knowledgeable!

You can extend this authentic experience by crisscrossing the territory of the appellation and visiting the areas open to the public. There are a multitude of good addresses for a tasting!


Did you like this report? Discover others by subscribing on the Facebook page of the Guide of Béarn-Pyrénées . We also have an Instagram page @guidebearnpyrenees.

Photos and article written by Lesley Williamson for the Guide of Béarn-Pyrénées


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