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Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh - is it any good?



There’s an interesting exchange over on the 1st June 2018 Weekend Drinking thread concerning this wine. The essence being that the examples didn’t really inspire.

(This wine is, in essence, the white wine of Madiran, being made for the most part from the two Manseng grapes. A couple of other grapes are allowed in support. It comes in dry and sweet forms.)

I’m starting this thread because I love wines from the Mansengs, but I too have never really found a Pacherenc that I would want to buy again. Up to now I have tended to think it must be just me, or that I have been unlucky with my selections. But now I’m beginning to wonder.

Is Jurançon simply the “sweet spot” for these grapes? Or have I not had a decent example of a Pacherenc? Can anyone suggest a good one or two?

Wine Wednesday (13th June 2018)

Thanks for starting this thread, @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis!
The bottle I referred to in the weekend thread (purchased in Waitrose) is only the second example I tried. I had another one about a year or so ago - from a local wine shop - which left me indifferent too. I don’t think it had this one’s slightly odd nose, but it took me this long to want to try one again, which speaks for itself.
The funny thing is that I love dry versions of the Mansengs and those other unique grapes (Courbu, Arrufiac etc), and have thoroughly enjoyed sweet Jurançon, so not sure why the Pacherenc doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Like you, it would be nice to hear it anyone had examples of it they can recommend…


This thread rang a bell in my mind about a bottle I picked up in France last summer. I bought one of these as a complete punt as I’d never heard of it before, and personally never seen an example in the UK…

Whilst also a Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec it looks to be 100% Petit Corbu rather than a Manseng blend?

This link would suggest AOC rules state 80% as the max for any one grape variety, so I’m not sure what I’ve got!

Will endeavour to dig it out and open it soon; will report back :smiley:

PS. Anyone want to attempt the correct pronunciation of the Domaine!?


Oh - that’s interesting, @Alchemist. I’ve never come across a 100% Courbu before, though plenty have it as part of the blend. I’ll look forward to your report back. Maybe it makes for a better wine here than the Mansengs!


@Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis , I came across a lovely Gros Manseng, petit manseng, Courbu blend about a year ago from a wine merchant in Windermere. It’s from Irouleguy by Famille

It was really good. I took it along to a blind tasting where the general consensus was that it was a Chablis :thinking:. All who tried loved it . Irouleguy wines can be difficult to get here but if you can source any definitely try a blend from here :wink:.


La-oo-gooway? There is an acute accent on the last letter e so must end in ay I think.


Ah yes, white Irouleguy. I did have one of those several decades ago(!) when holidaying in the French Basque country, and seem to remember enjoying it, though as you say they are a bit thin on the ground over here.

The Mansengs also crop up outside the extreme SW of France, notably to the north and east. In the former case they often make a good wine blended with sauvignon blanc, and sweet versions appear occasionally into the Languedoc region.

Though all things considered, I think the best place for this sort of wine is still Jurançon. And I still haven’t located a Pacherenc that is other than a bit ho-hum.


Temptation got the better of me today and inspired by this thread I’ve opened the Pacherenc du Vic Bilh I mentioned above…

The wine is a golden yellow, with aromas reminiscent of an older Loire Valley chenin blanc - waxy and honey, but with citrus and evidence of the oak treatment too. You almost expect it to be sweet but it isn’t, and you can see how this grape variety would work well in a sweet wine. It is medium bodied with moderate acidity - the palate is much more citrus/lemon with some of the honey character coming through, and a relatively short finish to it.

This is the first of its kind that I’ve tried and it’s ok without being great.


Thanks for sharing, @Alchemist! Sounds a bit like my experience… Nice, pleasing wine - but nothing to write home about. Is it made from Gros Manseng? If so, I would highly recommend giving the late harvest Txacoli (which was part of the press tasting) a go. It was made from Gros Manseng and was fantastic! :+1: not sure when it’s out for sale, though…


We opened a Pacherenc sweet wine a week or so back and had it with strawberries. It went very nicely without setting our pulses racing. It was a 2011 and I think I bought it in either Aldi or Lidl’s couple of years ago. Pretty much like the other experiences recorded here.


It’s a 100% Petit Courbu, so perhaps a little different.