Southwest-Côte de Gascogne
Côtes de Gascogne
The Côtes de Gascogne was once a VDP (Vin de Pays) and is now an IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée). It's centered in the Ténarèze region of Armagnac. Indeed many of the white grapes from the Côtes de Gascogne historically would have been used for distillation into Armagnac.
Yves Grassa at Domaine de Tariquet began to change that image during the 1980s when he found that fermenting Ugni Blanc and Colombard in stainless steel at low temperatures helped preserve their fruit and make them exuberantly aromatic. Pruning differently led to lower yields and higher alcohol, while also retaining acidity so important for distillation wines.
Gradually, other grapes were planted in the region, most notably Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gros Manseng. Because yields were high resulting in many grapes, prices for the consumer remained affordable and the popularity of the region's wines soared.
Soon many producers were following Grassa's lead and bottling their own wines, and a tidal wave of delicious value whites hit worldwide markets. Distillation decreased and the Armagnac market within the Ténarèze lost favor.
Meanwhile the reputation of Côtes de Gascogne wines rose. They are now considered to be some of the finest values on the market.