“Arraditz”, the new red wine from southwest France, silky smooth and good for your heart

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A new red wine variety based entirely on tannat grapes has been developed in Béarn, southwest France. Named "Arraditz", meaning "roots", it offers a rich, fruity taste, full of heart-friendly tannins.

The inhabitants of this area of southwest France have some of the lowest heart disease rates in the world.

A new red wine has been developed by the Cave de Gan, Jurançon in southwest France. Created on a base of tannat grapes, it has a rich, silky taste, suitable for all palates.

The Cave de Gan is well known for its Jurancon wine but also produces the "Béarn" red wine at its premises in Bellocq, near Saliès de Béarn. It is now hoping for the success of its latest creation – the tannat based red wine "Arraditz". The word "Arraditz" means "roots" in the local Béarnaise dialect, for this wine has its roots in the rich Béarnaise soil and the traditions of the men who have worked it. The name of the wine begins with the first letter of the alphabet and ends with the last, as the wine encapsulates the complete knowledge and expertise accumulated by the winegrowers of the region since the time viniculture began up to the present.

"Arraditz" has been developed using tannat grapes as a base, from vines which are at least twenty-five years old. This grape, which originates in the Basque country, is notable for its high tannin levels. These ensure the presence of high concentrations of an anti-oxidant named procyanidin, which helps repair cells of the coronary arteries in the heart. This is known to increase life expectancy and the inhabitants of this area of southwest France have some of the lowest heart disease rates in the world.

High tannin levels in a wine generate a strong, full-bodied flavour, which is not to everyone’s taste. Unlike many other wines with a tannat base, which mix the tannat grapes with another one such as Cabarnet, "Arraditz" wine is based 100% on tannat grapes. However, in the process of creating "Arraditz", these tannins have been softened. The resulting wine is silky smooth, with a rich, fruity flavour. It is best appreciated as an accompaniment to grilled meat and poultry dishes.

The wine saw its public launch on the 9th of December of last year, during a rugby match between Pau, the capital of Béarn, and Lyon. The Béarnaise team was victorious in this encounter with Sébastien Chabal’s old side, which gives them a chance to move up to the first division of the French rugby league. Normally an occasion to break open some Jurançon wine, "Arraditz" wine was instead at hand to help them toast their success.

Since then, "Arraditz" has been made available for sale in wine shops throughout France. The first large international order is due for dispatch in January to China, where interest in French wines has exploded over the last decade. English horse trainers and owners also had an opportunity to taste this wine during the recent "Concours Complet International de Pau". It is hoped this new wine from southwest France will make its way to retail outlets in the UK early this year.

A second version of this wine variety has also been developed, destined for sale in large retail outlets and supermarkets. This version will be called "Bayaa", which is the name of the central square of Saliès de Béarn, a historical town close to the facilities where the wine will be produced. To reflect these origins, this version of the wine will be launched in conjunction with the town of Saliès de Béarn in early 2013.

Both varieties of this wine will be available for tasting and sale at the premises of the Cave de Gan, Jurançon, which can be visited as part of a holiday of gastronomic discovery of southwest France. Bed and breakfasts in France often provide evening meals and their partnerships with local producers of traditional food and drink ensure that bottles of "Arraditz" and "Bayaa" will be served to accompany local recipes. Many of the winegrowers in the area also offer bed and breakfast accommodation on their estates for viniculture enthusiasts.

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Diarmuid Kieran

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