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ripening grapes in the Loire

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A sweet red wine from Madiran?

maydieA surprising concoction from a respected Madiran producer, which challenges the perception of the rich tannic Tannat grape from southwest France. It almost sounds a contradiction in terms, and another of those rather dubious French inventions which I have always suspected were just a way to re-invent unwanted left-over grape juice!
The Birmingham Post (3 April 2008) featured Maydie Tannat

Mention sweet red wine and a lot of people would be fetching their coats, but fortified vins de liqueur, made in a similar way to port, are very popular in France.

And although Maydie may sound a bit ominous translated into English, it certainly has a more than lively personality.

It’s produced by the Laplace family from Tannat grapes at Château d’Aydie in the Madiran region in the south-west of France.

Leave this fascinating wine in a glass for a few moments and the powerful scents begin to waft around the room: blackberry, licorice, menthol, elderberry.

It’s thick, densely dark purple and you might expect a correspondingly muscular flavour, so that the sweetness comes almost as a surprise – damsons and baked plum crumble disarmingly balancing the obvious sturdy tannin structure and high alcohol (17 per cent).

The thick-skinned Tannat grapes are also high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants which are claimed to be good for your heart.

Maydie is available from The Wine Society for £10.95 per 50cl bottle (see www.thewinesociety.com). A similar idea based on the Malbec grape in Cahors is made by Chateau de Chambert called Rogomme, available from HG Wines in London.

For more info on Chateau d’Aydie and Madiran wines see www.frenchduck.com

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