Côtes du Marmandais
Côtes du Marmandais is an appellation that is very similar to Côtes du Duras; both are located right on the Bordeaux border but are fairly obscure. Côtes du Marmandais differentiates itself by allowing non-Bordeaux grapes Gamay and Syrah to be included in the blends. Reds are much more common than whites, but white wine production is increasing in the area. All in all, this is a developing region and could become more well-known over the next several years.
Unlike Côtes du Duras, Côtes du Marmandais was never a famous region. Only in 1990 was Côtes du Marmandais elevated to AOC, and since then its wines have been improving in quality.
Climate and Viticulture
The climate of this appellation is not notably different from that of Bordeaux. Some of the best vineyards are located on the gravel banks of the Garonne river. Inferior ones are often situated on clay and gravel in the interior part of the appellation.
The usual four Bordeaux red grapes are allowed here: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. However, the legality of the Beaujolais grape Gamay and Rhône mainstay Syrah differentiate Côtes du Marmandais blends. The typical white grapes of Bordeaux, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle, are used here, though a few local grapes are also allowed.
Generally, Côtes du Marmandais wines are good, and for the right price it's difficult to go wrong. However, one wine producer has become especially notable in the last few years.
- Domaine Elian da Ros: These idiosyncratic blends, made by the charismatic young winemaker of the same name, are not for everyone, but are certainly more well-known and acclaimed than any other wines made in the appellation. The white wine is based on the cuvées of Alsace, while the red wines are said to be Burgundian in style. Le Vin est un Fête is an inexpensive but interesting Italian-influenced cuvée, while the Clos Baquey is a more powerful style. Vignoble d'Elian contains some Syrah, and Chante Coucou is the most Bordeaux-like of all the blends. This is definitely a domaine to watch.
There are no terroirs or subregions here.