While Gascony in France’s southwest is best known for its production of Armagnac, some of the same grapes used in the brandy also produce delightful and affordable white wines, like the 2021 Côtes de Gascogne from Domaine Saint-Lannes.
The wine is a blend of 80 percent Colombard, a prominent grape used in Armagnac, and 20 percent Gros Manseng, which is typically found in white wines from the nearby Jurançon appellation, among others.
At about $10 or so, the wine is easy-drinking but offers unusual complexity at this price point. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, it shows aromas and tastes of green apple, apricot, tropical fruits, and lemon. And that’s just the fruit component. Floral and spice notes and hints of gunflint and river rocks round out the equation.
It has an impressively long finish marked by zippy acidity that beckons you to take another sip.
The grapes are grown in clay-limestone soils, a terroir that “imparts minerality and verve to the wine,” as the U.S. importer notes. This is a great aperitif wine and will pair well with all kinds of appetizers, lighter fish like sole and flounder, as well as shellfish.
The Duffour family has owned the 230-acre Domaine Saint-Lannes since 1955 and has been producing its own wine since 1982. Beyond the Colombard-Gros Manseng blend, which it describes as “the soul” of the domaine, the winery also grows Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well as the red Tannat, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Colombard-Gros Manseng offering is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, among other typically unoaked white wines, at a price that can’t be beat.