Nicholas Pearce presents the wines of Clos Lapeyre, Jurançon.
Clos Lapeyre – Jurançon
“Clos Lapeyre is a 12 ha domain owned by the Larrieu family, in Jurançon, Southwest France. The first vintage here was 1985, and the vines occupy a privileged position on steep slopes at an altitude of 250 m. Jean-Bernard Larrieu makes the wines, and his aim is produce wines that express the specificity of the grape varities and the soils (pebbly clay/limestone and silex). Jean-Bernard is introducing organic viticulture here: he avoids herbicides, works the soil to encourage deep rooting, and uses natural composts. The attention to detail and terroir-focused approach shows in the wines, which are wonderfully original. These are wines bursting with character, and I recommend you try them if you have the chance.” Jamie Good – Wine Anorak
Clos Lapeyre Jurançon Sec – $22.95
100% Gros Manseng. This is a firm, savoury white with striking minerally, slightly herby palate. With good acid and concentration, there’s lots of interest here. Mouthfilling, chunky and structured.
Clos Lapeyre Jurançon Moelleux – $29.95
85% Gros Manseng/15% Petit Manseng, late harvested with 2 sweeps through the vineyard (tris) in November. 50% fermented in barrels, with the remainder in vats. Delicate honey and herb-tinged nose is enticing, with a sweet edge. Lovely rich texture on the straw and herb palate with good balance and some honeyed sweetness.
Clos Lapeyre Jurançon Magendia – Selection Petit Manseng – $39.95
Late harvested in November with three tris, whole berry pressing and half fermented in new barrels. Golden colour. Exotic, full herbal nose is very striking, full and sweet edged. The palate is massive with imposing flavours of apricot and sweet honeyed notes. Super-concentrated, bold and powerful, this is magnificent.
Jean-Bernard Larrieu is the winemaker of the family-owned Clos Lapeyre. He lives just down the road from the domaine with his wife and two daughters, with whom he insists on speaking the local patois or dialect.
The winery has been in existence since the first World War, at which time the Larrieu family made more money from the sale of peaches and cows than wine. Later, in the 1960s, more emphasis was placed on grapes, which were sold to the coopérative. The bulk of the estate’s money, however, came from strawberries grown on the property.
In the early 1970s, the family were the first to replant their vines on terraces, something that has now become common in Jurançon. This beautiful system, in which vines are planted in a semicircle — like an amphitheater — guarantees better exposure to the sun, encouraging further ripeness of late-harvest crops.
The property now covers 10 hectares, the majority of which have a southern exposure. The soil is a mixture of clay and silt, with several chalky areas. Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng comprise the majority of plantings, although Courbu still has its importance here. Average age of these vines is 15 years, although an older plot is comprised of 45-year-old vines.
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