Andrew Guard

2021 Domaine Lajibe / Manseng et Compagnie - Marcel

Marcel is a blend of Gros (two thirds) and Petit (one third) Manseng, from the commune of Monein.

The plot is located at the very top of a hillside, on the plateau, and is one of the highest points in the village. The terroir is limestone with quite a bit of clay too, Jean Baptiste remarks that it is 'cold' soil that produces wines of real austerity.

This wine has real density, with a fleshy richness and firm acidity. Lifted, fresh cut pineapple but without exoticism. In the mouth it's direct and very (very) long flavoured and delicately salivating, salty, very classy. Marcel is a beauty.

Jean-Baptiste Semmartin is making seriously great wines from his base in Lucq-de-Bearn, part of the historic Jurançon appellation. Despite being made far away and from different grapes, if you like the concentrated yet racy wines from Rousset-Martin or Labet in the Jura, then these could be for you. The Manseng grape provides for a bass note of Pineapple with it's 'tranchant' acidity - here it is masterfully crafted by Jean-Baptiste into wines that are artisanal and truly captivating.

Jean Baptiste is one of my favourite discoveries of all; not part of a winemaking family he learned the craft of growing grapes and making wines a bit all over the place, starting in 2005 and working first in Bordeaux at Grand Puy Lacoste, in the Collioure, and then with Emmanuel Giboulout in Burgundy, one of the biodynamic pioneers in the region, and this is where it all fell into place. He now had his vision!