Your Wine IQ

Béarn


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Southwest Right Béarn


The large Béarn region of Southwest France is adjacent to the regions of Jurançon and Madiran. The vineyards of Béarn were originally located in the eponymous departément, until that departément was broken down into three others with different names. All in all, the Béarn region includes vineyards in 74 communes across the three departéments.

Production encompasses 150,000 cases of wine per year, almost all of which is red. This is a low number considering the size of the appellation, and only a fraction of these bottles are actually exported.

History

First made in the Roman era, the wine of this region became popular during the Renaissance and Middle Ages, but in the last few hundred years has become somewhat less acclaimed. Béarn received its VDQS status in 1951 and AOC in 1975.

Climate and Viticulture

The best vineyards of Béarn are located on terraces of sloping hillsides. The soil is made up of highly drainable clay, but there are layers of pebbles in some vineyards. The oceanic climate means there is little variance in temperature and much rain.

Grape Varieties

The reds here, which make up the majority of production, are made from tannic local grape Tannat, and international grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. A few other varietals are used, but rarely. White wines are made from local grapes Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng.

Major Producers

These wines do not have much of an international presence, so we do not list any major producers. If you happen to be in Béarn, though, many of the wines are fresh and crisp, with light fruit flavors.

Subregions

Béarn has one official subregion, the Béarn-Bellocq AOC. This is exclusively for wines made in the Bellocq village, which has been the center of Béarn and an important viticultural hub for centuries.