(2020) There is some Cabernet Franc blended with the Tannat here, in a forward and juicy Madiran from Southwest France. Spices, black plum and some floral highlights aromatically, some oak too giving a little creamy and chocolaty background note. The fruit on the palate is very sweet on first impression: real blackcurrant and blueberry, almost pastille sweetness, quite soft in texture and structure for Madiran, though acidity and a little liquorice or endive bittering quality tightens up the finish.
(2020) From the Côtes du Marmandais in teh southwest of France close to Bordeaux, this is a blend of Bordeaux varieties plus Syrah. It has a very nice, gently rustic nose, game and leather, but fruit to and a certain peppery quality. In the mouth it is savoury and nicely balanced - though quite dry, there is an honest and rustic charm about this, and there is decent black fruit at the core.
(2020) This is a blend with 60% Merlot and Manseng Noir and was a tank sample. Juicy, fresh and cherry scented with a floral lift, but there is roundness from the Merlot. Very smooth, charming and easy to drink, Manseng providing almost no tannin, but plenty of acidity to cut through the creamy black and plummy fruit given mainly by the Merlot I suspect, into a pleasing, easy-going finish.
(2020) Tank sample. A dark, inky, almost slatey character on the nose, with Asian dried plum and black cherry fruit. This is 100% Manseng Noir, that sees no oak, and though the palate has smoothness and fruit density, the vigorous acidity gives it real spine and inky dryness, with plenty of juicy dark, very dry tapenade and cherry character. Intriguing, though still to make it to the UK.
(2020) The entry level for the white wines tasted here is a blend of 70% Gros Manseng, 25% Petit Courbu and Arrufiac. Lovely and appealing nose, plenty of zippy but tropical fruit, peach and nectarine over-flowing with these primary aromas, then a lovely hint of oiliness to the texture, a real bitter orange tang to the acidity, pithy and zesty, and a keen, long edge to the finish. Great value and very stylish.
(2020) The blend for the top red is 75% Tannat, 15% Pinenc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Again from limestone and clay, but also sandy soils, typical of the Bas Armagnac region. A powerful nose of black and sour cherry, with some cool and elegant graphite character. Lots of smoothness in texture, plenty of tannin and bright cherry, great mid-palate sweetness, but the structure builds and grips to the finish, staying fresh and grippy, concentrated and delicious, and surely with ageing potential.
(2020) Around 65% of this is Gros Manseng, vinified in barrel, 30% Petit Courbu and 5% Arrufiac. These are 50-year old vines from a special parcel on a cooler slope on clay and limestone and it is Plaimont's top white cuvée. From a hot year this has retained its freshness very well. There's a charming peachy, downy fruitiness on the nose, but also a zesty lemon vibrancy and a smoothing note of nuttiness and light toast. In the mouth it has weight and texture, a certain fat in the mid-palate, vanilla and a nuance of honey, but that lemony thrust of the acidity tensions the whole picture, giving this fine precision and length. Olivier recommends with a special ham produced in the region, and I can see that working well.
(2020) From a cooler year when the naturally high acid of the Manseng Noir had to be managed, this has a little more of a tapenade, spicy character, but still that same easy-going fruit and a nicely dry, savoury finish showing charming plush fruit.
(2020) Again that big difference in climate to the 2019 vintage, this a much cooler year and the wine shows a fine, Cru Beaujolais-like purity of red fruit and minerality, taut with the tannins gentle and refined and the acidity juicy into the finish. Fruity, but the bite of sour cherry to the acidity adds a lovely freshness. Not currently in the UK.
(2020) The very first vintage of Cirque Nord and that north-facing site on clay, this wine still shows those vibrant and quite lucious tropical fruit characters, though there's a definite creaminess to this too, and a spine of salty, energising acidity still that suggest it has some longevity yet. Even at six years old, showing a lot of poise and a lot of class. No UK stockists, but the wine sells for around 30€ in France.