After a 20 year stint in the Caribbean spice trade, Jean-Dominique Laudet returned to France and purchased Château Laballe with the intention of producing exceptional Armagnac. Located in Bas Armagnac in the heart of Gascony in Southwest France, Château Laballe and its tradition of producing outstanding Armagnac was passed from one generation to the next. In the 1970s, wine production was added to the family business and today, Cyril Laudet (of the 8th generation) along with his wife, Julie, farm 42 acres across three appellations: Landes, Côtes de Gascogne and Tursan. The wines from Tursan are produced at a neighboring Domaine, Clos Cazalet, which Cyril acquired in 2010. The Clos Cazalet label focuses on rare and local grape varieties such as Baroque and Gros Manseng for the white and Tannat and Fer Servadou for the red. The vines are planted on gentle slopes at the base of the Pyrénées in chalk- and siliceous-clay soils, which impart bold character, fresh acidity and a distinct minerality to the wines.
This bright and crisp blend of 65% Gros Manseng, 25% Baroque and 10% Petit Manseng hails from the little-known appellation of Tursan in Southwest France, just 45 miles inland from the Atlantic ocean. The fragrant nose offers notes of Honeydew melon, lemon curd and chalky limestone, which carry over to the light-bodied palate. There is an almost beeswax-like texture here accompanied by flavors of candied lemon and ruby red grapefruit peel. A mouth puckering acidity joins the party on the mid-palate, leading onto a fresh and clean finish. This has seafood written all over it and would be appropriate alongside steamed clams or snapper escabèche!