It’s no secret that I’m a fan of wines from the appellations in southwest France that treasure their little-known indigenous grape varieties, none more so than Saint Mont in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Gers department.
The region produces reds and rosés as well as whites, but it's the vivacious dry whites, made from, in descending proportions, Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac or sometimes Petit Manseng, that I particularly like.
For the new Grande Cuvée, the grapes came from cooler north and west-facing vineyards, which between them cover all three of Saint Mont’s soil types: clay-limestone, variegated clay and fawn-coloured sand. The producer – no prizes for guessing – is the impressive Plaimont group which is responsible for almost all Saint Mont’s wines.
The 2020 is brimming with succulent passionfruit, grapefruit and quince and lightly flecked with green almond and lime. Tangy acidity courses through it, while four to five months’ ageing on lees has given subtle creaminess . Full of life, fruit and friskiness, I concluded (alliteratively).
If you’re still wondering if white Saint Mont is for you, you’ll almost certainly like it if you like Sauvignon Blanc, especially if you sometimes find Sauvignon a bit herbaceous, or if you like Albariño.
It's a very good aperitif, but also goes with seafood and fish, tomato dishes, vegetables such as roast red peppers and beetroot, and hard or semi-hard cheeses, including Pyrenean sheep milk-based cheeses (such as Ossau Iraty, Etorki and Chistera), Manchego, Comté, Parmesan and aged Gouda. 12.5%. Empty bottle weight: 410g.
Click here to read more about Saint Mont and the pioneering Plaimont.
Plaimont Saint Mont Grande Cuvée 2020, Saint Mont, France