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Terroirs Landais

Landes is an IGP title for wines coming from the administrative department of the same name in South West France. More famous for surfing and pine forests than for viticulture, a small amount of vineyards nevertheless make wine under the Landes IGP. There are few AOC-level appellations that fall within the geographical boundaries of Landes: only the little-known Tursan AOC and a portion of Armagnac.

Landes lies on the Atlantic coast, south of the Gironde estuary where the vineyards of Bordeaux can be found. This close proximity to one of the world's most-famous wine regions has overshadowed any viticultural glory that may have been enjoyed by Landes. The wine regions of South West France also neighbour the area, with Jurançon and Irouléguy to the south and Madiran just to the east. Spain lies over the Pyrenees to the south.

The terroir in Landes is definitively maritime, betraying the department's location on the coast. The sandy plains that cover the west of the department are not well suited to viticulture at all and instead are covered with pine forests, which were initially planted in the 19th century to prevent erosion. However, moving inland, the landscape changes to more undulating hills with sandy loam soils where most viticulture takes place.

The grape varieties permitted in the red and white wines of Landes are fairly representative of the location of the department. The Bordeaux staples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are joined by the South West grape varieties of Tannat, Ugni Blanc and Gros Manseng, along with several others.

The Landes department was previously covered by the Vin de Pays des Landes title, as well as several more geographically specific Vin De Pays titles. The Vin de Pays classification was removed in 2009 by the government in favour of the simplified Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) classification, which more closely resembles the labelling standards of the European Union. Now, the department is home to just one IGP title, which may be ameliorated with one of four geographical sub-appellations: Côteaux de Chalosse, Côtes de l’Adour, Sables Fauves and Sables de l'Océan. A fifth VDP appellation, Vin de Pays des Terroirs Landais, has been removed from French wine law completely.

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