NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2017 : The Wines of Southwest France are proud to announce their nomination for the Wine Enthusiast's 2017 Wine Region of the Year award. The Southwest is France's only wine region among a prestigious group of five shortlisted nominees, three of which are European. The winner will be unveiled by the Wine Enthusiast on November 9, 2017.
To be a Wine Region nominee, Southwest France had to prove it had more than wines of good quality; it had to demonstrate its vision, authenticity and commitment to sustainable excellence. This designation confirms the pivotal role the lush, hilly wine region is now playing in exporting the savoir-faire, passion and innovation that characterize today's French winemaking in all corners of the world.
"We are delighted that Southwest France has been recognized as one of the top wine regions in the world," says Paul Fabre, Managing Director of the Interprofession des Vins du Sud-Ouest. "Our commitment to preserving our natural wine heritage and environment while using the best available technology makes the region an obvious choice for the nomination."
"Southwest France continues to grow on the global radar, with wines lauded for their excellent value and finesse. Its distinct subregions, with their stunning, scenic backdrops, produce unique, terroir-driven and ageable wines, giving neighbors like Bordeaux a run for their money. Sommeliers started the buzz, and consumers in the U.S. and beyond have caught on", comments the Wine Enthusiast panel.
Southwest France, a Wine Gem to Discover
Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the vibrant city of Toulouse, and from the sunny Pyrenees to the monumental Massif Central mountains, the Southwest is home to a climatic and geological variety that defines the region's wine diversity. With 43 geographical designations and over 300 grape varieties referenced, 120 of which are native to the region, the Southwest's wine offer is unprecedented.
Not sure which wines from the Southwest France to choose for your wine needs? Here's a selection of appellations to explore by wine type:
•Crisp whites - Cotes de Gascogne, Irouleguy
•Aromatic roses - Fronton, Marcillac
•Fruity reds - Gaillac, Cotes du Marmandais, Saint Mont
•Full-body reds - Madiran and Cahors, the latter which is the birthplace of Malbec
•Sweet wines - Bergerac, Monbazillac and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh
The 4th vineyard in France in production volume, the Southwest offers high-quality and friendly wines that delight every palate, offer good value for money, and pair easily with all kinds of food.
Southwest France, Where Heritage and Innovation Meet
The Southwest's rise to the top is the result of a long-standing commitment to innovation in the full respect of tradition and the environment.
Visionary winemakers such as the cooperative PLAIMONT Producteurs contributes to the uniqueness of the Southwest by growing exclusively native grape varieties and working on the genetic make-up of old, forgotten grape varietals to create new varieties that are disease- and climate change resistant. The French Institute of Vine and Wine (IFV) took on the same challenge. Its research aims to fight the disappearance of grape varietals by putting them in conservatory. "The Southwest represents only 5% of the French vineyard, but 30% of the country's genetic diversity. It is fundamental that we protect this heritage", explains Eric Serrano, Southwest Regional Director of the IFV.
Other winemakers such as Bergerac's Luc de Conti made the transition to full organic farming before it became the trend: "We switched to organic farming in 1996 for qualitative reasons; we sought to find the notion of terroir in our wines and the world of organic brought us the solution", he explains.
The annual Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards recognize individuals and companies that made outstanding achievements among the wine and beverage industry in 15 different categories. This year's winners will be honored at a black-tie gala in January 2018 in Miami.
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