Capital of the department of Béarn in the Aquitaine region, Pau is an ancient royal city magnificently located between the mountains and the ocean, at the extreme south-western tip of France.
What there is to know about Pau
It is heir to a rich tradition of tourism that dates back to the 19th century, when it was a prestigious resort for aristocrats from all over the world. A city of art and history, Pau has managed to preserve its heritage and boasts magnificent buildings scattered throughout its territory: the national stud farm, various palaces, villas, museums and a castle.
It is also a very green city, with more than 750 hectares of green spaces and many rare and exotic species. Pau is also famous for the Jurançon vineyard located on its doorstep. The particularity of these vineyards is first and foremost their height to avoid frost, they produce magnificent dry and sweet white wines, even sweet for the oldest vintages, whose golden colour reminds one of Monbazillac or other Sauternes.
As you walk through its lands, you will discover the Madiran vineyard which has the particularity of extending over three departments, the Pyrénées Atlantiques, the Gers and the Hautes Pyrénées, only a little more than 40% of the vineyard is in fact in Béarn. It is a vineyard producing mainly red wine, very tannic, it is a well-structured, powerful and aromatic wine, ideal with red meat and game.
Cellars to visit near Pau.
The city of Pau is the gateway to the Jurançon vineyards.
The vineyard, between 350 and 400 m above sea level, now covers 18 ha, half of which is on terraces facing the Pyrenees. It is mainly composed of Mansengs: native, late and demanding grape varieties. From the vine to the wine, the work is meticulously carried out by a small team motivated and passionate about nature, work well done and healthy and expressive wines.
The Lihours took over Domaine Castera in 1895 and have been caring for the vineyard for five generations. Their ambition is to produce fresh and faithful wines from the Pyrenean Piedmont region. And therefore not to make wines that are universal, exuberant and devoid of identity. Christian and his son, Frank, are respectful of the vine and the soil, they work without rotting, without acaricides and use natural fertilizers, manure, for the pleasure of the soil and the vine!
The family owns various small parcels of land spread over three localities; Tauzy, Caubegt and Les Terrasses. Respectively, 2, 8, and 1.3 ha each. Their vintages are therefore made from 4.3 ha of Gros Manseng, 6 ha of Petit Manseng and less than one ha of Petit Courbu.
Since the middle of the 20th century, the Bortolussi family has owned this vineyard, which consists of 25 hectares of vines classified as AOP Madiran (20ha) and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh (5ha). It produces wines that are both concentrated and fine, with a wonderful palate feel, while fully respecting the fruit. Knowing your terroir, listening to the vines, not resigning yourself to following practices without questioning yourself... this long-standing commitment for the Bortolussi family was rewarded in 2018 by obtaining the High Environmental Value certification.