The vines planted at high altitude benefit from a very good amount of sunshine but also from cool temperatures at night. The pebble soils are draining and the annual production is about 9000 hectolitres. Two types of wines are produced on this appellation, sweet and dry wines. For the sweet ones, the harvests are late, the grapes are harvested raisined, they are grapes swollen by the sun and the cold which concentrates them with sugar while keeping the balance and the acidity of the fruit. Nets protect these reserved vines from birds. The grape varieties used are local (Arrufiac, Courbu, big Manseng and small Manseng) and can be complemented with Bordeaux varieties.
The AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) Pacherenc or Pacherenc-du-vic-bilh is a white wine like no other. Its area of production is located in the Vic-Bilh country. Straddling three departments, it shares the same terroir as the Madiran appellation.
The appellation owes its name to a Gascon term
The Pacherenc appellation is located in the departments of Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. More specifically, on the left bank of the Adour river. Wines from this production area are officially recognized as AOCs by the decree of April 24, 2007.
This appellation is quite recent. Up to 50 years ago, its wines were called "vin de Portet". The term "pacherenc" comes from the Gascon word "pachet-en-rène" which means stakes in a row. It refers to the viticultural technique used by local producers. They prune the vines high before tying them to aligned stakes.
The appellation includes 3 communes in the Gers, 28 villages in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and 6 localities in the Hautes-Pyrénées. The production area is mainly characterized by detrital and sedimentary rocks. It has many slopes and hills. On the top of the hills, the soil is siliceous with rolled pebbles. The slopes are made of clay-limestone terroirs. The bottom of the slopes are composed of silty-clayey soil.
The AOC Pacherenc benefits from an oceanic climate. Winters are mild and summers are hot. In spring and autumn, rainfall is well balanced, which ensures the quality of Pacherenc wines.
A visit of the vineyards will help you better understand the appellation.
AOC Pacherenc offers dry and sweet white wines. The latter are obtained from grape varieties close to those of the Jurançon region. They are the arrufiac, the petit manseng, the gros manseng and the petit courbu. Each of these plants brings particular characteristics to Pacherenc wines. Sometimes they can be combined with other Bordeaux grapes.
To better understand this appellation, take a tour of the estates in the area. The Sergent estate, on the slopes of Maumusson, welcomes you. The winegrowers will introduce you to the secrets of Pacherenc and Madiran AOC production. You will appreciate this family estate revealing the finesse of these appellations.
Also make a stop at the Stratéus vineyard. Located on the slopes of Madiran, this vineyard offers a white vintage of Pacherenc wines and another of Madiran. You will thus be able to deepen your knowledge of these AOC wines. And before you leave, treat yourself with a purchase of Pacherenc wines.
The different characteristics of Pacherenc wines
Dry and soft Pacherenc differ in many ways. The dry white distinguishes itself by its soft golden colour and its scents of lemon and pineapple. The whole enveloped with honey aromas. On the palate, it is fat and powerful at the same time.
As for the soft white wines, they have a shiny gold and copper colour. On the nose, it gives off sweet aromas of dried and exotic fruits. It also exhales aromas of candies and honey. On the palate, the wine presents a balance between roundness, power and smoothness.
After your purchase of Pacherenc wines, take note of the dishes to be paired with these drinks. You will notice that they go perfectly with foie gras, various cheeses (especially those from the Pyrenees and blue cheeses) and various desserts such as brioche or crème brûlée.
Pacherenc AOCs also go well with fish and seafood. Serve them with squid stuffed with alfalfa, sole fillets or shrimp fritters. You can also enjoy them with a pork and chicken stew or a roast turkey.