Madiran refers to wines made around the village of Madiran in the Gascony area of south-west France. Madiran has 2 AOP's: 'Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh' for red wines and 'Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec' for white wines. Madiran wines are produced across 3 départments - Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques - with a production area as of 2015 making up approximately 1500 hectares of vineyards.
The vineyards were planted by the Romans and there reputation was spread by the pilgrims travelling through the area on their way to 'Santiago de Compostela' in north-west Spain. They are also some of the oldest vineyards in France. Madiran wines achieved their AOC status in 1948, and only red wine can be produced under this specific appellation.

 

Tannat is the main varietal used in red Madiran AOP wines -  where it must make up approximately 55% of the vineyard area, which was allegedly brought by monks from Bordeaux. It is supported by Cabernet-Franc 34%; Cabernet Sauvignon 10% and Fer Servadou 1% (locally called Pinenc) - some of the appellation's top wines are in fact made from 100% Tannat; this is within AOP regulations.
The resulting wines tend to be very concentrated, high in tannin and traditionally requires several years aging to be at its best. The style of quality Madiran wine is not unlike that of high-end Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux wines. However, recently some of the new generation winemakers have been experimenting with, and producing, wines which are softer and more approachable in their youth.
Madiran is also known as the healthiest of red wines due to the high levels of procyanidins it contains. This is said to be good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting.
Geographically the Madiran wine region is around 100km from the Atlantic Ocean - and 50km’s from the Pyrenees mountain range. The area has significant rainfall in winter and spring, plus the region enjoys long, dry, hot summers ideal for ripening grapevines. Madiran AOP wines must be aged for 12 months before being able to be presented for approval; to obtain such approval, the wines are compared to a ‘control’ and if their level or ‘typicity’ does not meet the standard, they are refused.
The regions rich red wine styles typically have dark purple to black colour, with aromas of red and black berries (blackcurrant, blackberries), dried spices, confident tannin structure, powerful on the palate, with relatively high acidity and a very pronounced typicity.