In deepest Gascony and in the foothills of the Pyrénées lies the idyllic landscape of Madiran (65 Hautes-Pyrénées, Occitanie) home to the original Malbec wines of the name.
This is rural France – no big towns or major autoroutes – rolling hills and fields, small villages and wine-making in the land of the Three Musketeers. The area is known as the “Old Country” Vic Bilh in Gascon, with an ancient vineyard of red wines of “Madiran” and white wines of “Pacherenc du Vic Bilh” and local country wines – Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne and Côtes de Saint Mont.
Originally the local Madiran wines were robust and tannic – excellent foils for the rich duck and goose which are the area’s principal dishes. Modern styles have become more fruit-driven and can be wondrously smooth. The whites range from dry to lush dessert wines. Good wines are made by the excellent local Plaimont co-operative (at Saint Mont), but the stars of the area are small craft winemakers, such as
- the Laplace family at Chateau d’Aydie (at Viella)
- Alain Brumont at Chateau Bouscassé (at Maumusson Laguian)
- Chateau Montus (at Maumusson Laguian)
- Didier Barré at Domaine Berthoumieu (at Viella) and many others.
There is not much in the way of hotels etc, but check carefully and you can find real gems – the only significant hotel in the village of Madiran itself is Le Prieuré, which is the ancient priory in the heart of the village. Fully renovated it is now a very stylish hotel and restaurant and a perfect venue for enjoying Madiran wines. The building also houses the Maison des Vins!
For more info on the wines of Madiran see www.madiran-story.fr
In the centre of the village of Madiran is Le Prieuré Hotel, (The Priory) with a fine restaurant and outdoor pool
There is a new vineyard hotel at nearby Saint Mont (16 km/10 miles) – Le Monsatère de Saint Mont
airport: Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées Airport LDE: 30 miles/50 km
somewhere to stay? ferry? trains?, car hire?
Other accommodation around Madiran includes B&Bs, self-catering apartments/villas – but beware this is a seriously rural area with few large towns or public transport.