I’d wager you’re unfamiliar with any of the terms in the name of the wine in this review… and to be honest I had to look up the Madiran region on a map myself. Here’s what you need to know:
Madiran is a tiny spot of land in southwest France (you’ll sometimes see these wines listed on a wine list as “Sud-Ouest”), jutting up against the Pyrenees mountains which separate France from Spain. Madiran wines have much in common with Spanish wines, in fact. More than with most French wines, anyway.
Plaimont produces this Madiran wine like many others: Predominantly the Tannat grape (80%) and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. You probably don’t know Tannat at all: The only other place it’s popular aside from Madiran is Uruguay.
As the name suggests, Tannat is very high in tannins, and five years after harvest, Plénitude is still packing quite a punch. The aroma of smoke and wood are overpowering at first, and the wine is so dense it’s tough to drink beyond a few short sips. But in the glass it mellows with a little time: After half an hour that Cabernet makes itself known and the smokiness vanishes, leaving you with a fruit-packed core that, though tight, is a perfect wine for drinking solo or with hearty foods.
Plaimont is working to promote this wine and other Madiran bottlings as especially heart-healthy (here’s some video on the topic as to why). I don’t know if drinking Plénitude will really help you live longer, but it sure tastes good either way.
A- / about $35 / plaimont.com