It’s easy to remember Côtes de Gascogne white wines. Just remember The Three Musketeers, who hail from this out-of-the-way region of Southwest France also known as the producer of France’s great Armagnac brandies.
These are great wines to have with seafood and most appetizers, especially those involving shellfish, as the whites, although fruity, are largely crisp in the finish. Most of the grapes are little known in America, but their good acidity makes them ideal for both brandy production and as wines to begin a meal. They include grapes such as colombard, ugni blanc and gros and petit manseng blended with international varieties such as sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. The prices — all under $10 — are unbeatable.
Also in this review are some interesting white wines from another emerging region: Sicily.
Domaine Duffour Côtes de Gascogne 2013 ($9)
The vinous equivalent of a spicy, tangy fresh apples with notes of apple skin. However, it is full-bodied, with the lead grape being colombard.
Domaine des Cassagnoles “cuvée gros manseng” Côtes de Gascogne 2013 ($9)
Somewhat floral notes plus citrus fruits — lime and lemon — and good finishing acidity.
Domaine de Pajot “Les Quatre Cépages” Côtes de Gascogne 2013 ($9)
Sauvignon blanc joins the native varieties here to make a quite juicy wine with flavors of fresh grape juice, kiwi fruit and tart lime. Obvious good acidity makes this a great pre-meal choice to get the gastric juices pumping.
Domaine de Pellehaut “Harmonie de Gascogne” Côtes de Gascogne 2013 ($8)
Juicy-tart with green apple and green gooseberry tastes, but with a touch of creaminess. Still tight in the finish.
Tariquet “Rosé de Pressé” Côtes de Gascogne 2013 ($8)
As this rosé fall more into the white category, it is included here as a tart pink with flavors of fresh and dried strawberries.
Feudo Arancio Stemmari Sicily pinot grigio 2013 ($9)
A little plump, but with good acidity to rescue. Mixture of tropical and green fruity flavors.
Feudo Arancio Stemmari “Dalila” Sicily white wine 2012 ($12)
An 80/20 mixture of grillo (be prepared to hear more about this grape) and viognier produces a wine with soft apple flavors, some viognier floweriness and a pleasant apple finishing taste.
Feudo Arancio Stemmari “Baci Vivaci” Sicily white wine nonvintage ($12)
Very light and slightly fizzy with tangy acidity. At 10.5 percent, it is also a good wine for those who prefer low alcohol.