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Berthoumieu

There are several fine growers in Madiran at the moment and Didier Barré of Domaine Berthoumieu is certainly one of the best. There have been vineyards in Madiran or Vic-Bilh (the local name, taken from the hills that form part of the Pyrenees foothills) since the 3rd century and, in the Middle Ages, pilgrims en route for Santiago de Compostela appreciated the wines. Many producers believe that true Madiran has to be near to 100% Tannat but the appellation allows other grapes like Fer Servadou (called pinenc locally) and Cabernet Sauvignon in there. Barré's wines are perfect expressions of the notion of terroir, they make no compromises. He even has a few rows of gnarled and knobbly Tannat vines dating back over 100 years.