Chateau Laffitte-Teston

Jean-Marc Laffitte
Ericka Laffitte
Joris Laffitte

The appellation Madiran is situated among the northern foothills of the Pyrenées in the heart of Gascony. It is a pastoral area which is sparsely populated and often evokes references of “Old France”. The appellation takes it name from one of the 37 villages that comprise it. The AOC Madiran refers only to red wine production whereas white wine produced in the same area uses the AOC of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean the climate is somewhat humid with moderate temperatures that benefit from the prevailing south winds that bring warm dry air in the summer and fall.

On a family domain where the wine was formerly sold in bulk, Jean-Marc Laffitte began estate bottling in 1975. The vineyards, in the commune of Maumusson, are on chalky clay soil and are planted to 70% Tannat and 15% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The average vine age is 40 years. Harvesting is done manually.

Reflet du Terroir

The blend is typically 70% Tannat blended with 15% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The grapes are destemmed before being fermented in stainless steel tanks. The juice stays in contact with the must for 20 days during which time the tanks are drained twice with the juice being returned on top of the cap. The wine stays in the tank for three months and is racked every three weeks. It is then aged in 1 and 2 year old barrels for 12 months.

Vieilles Vignes

The Vieilles Vignes cuvee is 100% Tannat and is produced from 80 year old vines that have particularly low yields. The juice stays in contact with the must for 21 days during which period the juice is pumped over the cap twice a day obtaining great extraction. The wine is aged in new and one year old barrels for 13 months.

Region: Southwest

The wine appellations of southwest France are spread throughout ten different “départments”. The Romans called the area Aquitania, “land of waters”, and it has been described as the area of few roads but many rivers. This group of appellations is certainly the most far ranging and diverse to be brought together under one geographical umbrella...

Although the area is spread out, it is given contours by its impressive natural boundaries. The great mountain range known as the Massif Central forms the eastern boundary. This vast range gives rise to the Dordogne, the Lot and the Tarn rivers, which flow westward toward the Atlantic Ocean and have been so crucial to the development of the region’s vineyards. The southern extreme is formed by the Pyrénées, the source of the Garonne River whose northern route passes through Toulouse and Bordeaux. The region is met on its western edge by the Atlantic Ocean.

Within the southwest of France there are many cultural and culinary traditions. Around Toulouse one finds a distinctly southern, “Provençal” influence, while the Pyrénées is home to the Basque culture as well as the Béarnaise. Further north one passes through Gascony on route to Bordeaux and Périgord.

When the French talk about abandoning the charms of nouvelle cuisine for good old country cooking or “cuisine du terroir”, the Southwest is the first “terroir” that springs to mind. Not surprisingly, the wines of southwest France also offer a welcome antidote to “nouvelle” wines and we have chosen to work with vignerons who prefer to refine the quality of their traditional wines rather than abandon them. Many of the appellations in the Southwest have ancient and illustrious histories such as the Gaillac vineyards which date back to the Gauls and were widely planted by the Romans in the first century. In the fourteenth century over half the wine shipped from the port of Bordeaux was from the Cahors region. Reflective of the cultural diversity is the diversity of wine styles and grape varieties grown in the Southwest, many of which are particular to their appellations. Red varieties from the Carmenet family such as Fer Servadou, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are grown throughout the region as well as Tannat, Malbec and Negrette from the Cotoïdes family. White varieties of the region include Len de l’el, Mauzac, Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng. There is a bucolic quality in this corner of France, a quality which is mirrored in the rich tapestry of terroirs and local grape varieties that produce these most savory, delicious and charming wines.