Electrifying white wines from the land of Henri IV
Legend has it that when the young Henri IV (the future Henry the Great) was born in 1553, his lips were rubbed with a clove of garlic and moistened with a drop of the local Jurançon wine, imparting him with the vigour and spirit for which the young king would become known. Nearly 500 years later, the region is still famous for its exceptional white wines.
Domaine Cauhape is situated in the heart of this secluded region of South West France. Owner and winemaker Henri Ramonteau founded the winery in 1980 on his parents’ farm, which had originally been used to rear cattle and grow cereal crops. He started with just one hectare of land focussing solely on the two native local varieties: Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng.
Henri is passionate about the unique terroir of Jurançon, where high-altitude south-facing slopes mean his grapes thrive with abundant sunshine and the cooling influence of the Atlantic. The result? Complex and aromatic dry white wines, as well as wonderfully sweet dessert wines countered with an electrifying vein of acidity.
Today Henri has 44 hectares of land that he tends with the same passion and dedication as he did when he first started. He is committed to working with nature rather than against it, forgoing all chemicals and aligning with organic practices. Henri and his small team perform all their work in the vineyard by hand, which allows them to pay a greater attention to detail and really ‘listen’ to the vines. Grapes are then hand-picked and carefully sorted before being carried to the winery in small fruit crates.
Domaine Cauhape is a favourite among sommeliers, Michelin-starred restaurants and journalists, but the Jurançon region remains relatively unknown among most wine drinkers. This makes it one of the wine trade’s best kept secrets and superb value for money.