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Charentais Vin de Pays

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Vins de Pays Charentais, mainly white wines from grapes that also serve as the basis for Cognac. Ugni Blanc and Columbard are the traditional varieties but more Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are evident, which add body and richness to what otherwise can be rather thin acidic wines (ideal for Cognac!).
The Vin de Pays Charentais accounts for 40% of the Vins de Pays wine production in the Charentes/Aquitaine area. Produced in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime, these wines contribute toward a diversification of use for the vineyards of the Cognac region. White wines are produced mainly from Ugni-Blanc which gives them acidity and freshness, and the Ugni-Blanc is blended with aromatic grape varieties such as Colombard, Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
For the reds and rosés Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Tannat (Cot or Auxerrois) are the principal grapes, which have the potential to produce rich, full-bodied wines, especially in good summers.

I have tasted some very good light, fresh whites from the region. I cannot say the same for the reds which I’ve always found a little disappointing. However if you want to try some of the best wines from the area, Swallow Fine Wines in Salisbury and online are offering a mixed case of wines from Domaine Gardrat.
domaine de gardrat
See map of Pamproux where there is an annual musical grape harvest festival)

For more info on Vins de Pays Charentais see www.swfrance.com/vdpc/

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