Stocking the cellar

As we settle into our new life in Orthez, top of mind was to refill our cellar.  So one of the first field trips we planned was to one of our favorite local winemakers,  Domaine les Pentes de Barène in Tursan, about 45 minutes from our house.  If you are a white wine fan, you may recognize the name, as their wines have often been featured on the wine lists at Le Pichet and Cafe Presse, and I wrote about our first visit there a number of years ago.

It was  a pleasure to see winemaker Gaëlle Vergne again and to taste her dry white from 2021, which is labeled under the Tursan appellation, and her sweet white from 2020, which bears the name “Le Doux de Barène” and the IGP Landes.  The sweet white was only recently bottled after spending an extra year on wood for richness.

The ravages of climate change have definitely been felt in the SW of France.  Gaëlle said that last year was very difficult, with spring frost that threatened the flowering vines, and a very hot, dry summer, that saw such a lack of water that birds, deer and rodents were invading the field, seeking the water in the grapes to quench their thirst. She also talked of intense rain the previous winter that caused a landslide that actually swept away about 100 of her vines – Pentes means “slope” and les Pentes de Barène are indeed on a very steep slope facing the Pyrenees.

It is a privilège to be able to support independent artisans who are doing everything right:  Domaine les Pentes de Barène is the smallest producer in Tursan, organic, bio-dynamic and still manages to turn out excellent wines at a very fair price. Hopefully Michael and Marcel will continue to feature their wines at Le Pichet!


“Independent winemaker: Authentic wines and personalities”

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