The winegrowing regions of this large region (French Sud-Ouest) with around 160,000 hectares of vineyards are among the oldest France, From a purely geographical and historical point of view, southwestern France includes the entire area between the Massif Central, the eastern border, and the Atlantic coast in the west to the south to the Pyrenees on the border Spain, Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) described the Roman province he conquered between the river Garonne and the Pyrenees for the first time as Aquitaine (French Guyenne). Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) incorporated it into the Frankish Empire. After an eventful history as an independent county, the acquisition of the Gascogne and then under English rule from the mid-12th century, the area did not finally come to France until 1453. In the Middle Ages the Catholic orders cultivated viticulture here, with the monastic order of the Cistercian deserve.
The need of the Dutch for brandy and sweet wines from the 17th century shaped the wine style. At that time the name was changed Haut-Pays (Upper country - upstream from Bordeaux) in use. For a long time, however, the wines were overshadowed by the Bordelais. The wine was sold from the port in Bordeaux and all other areas had to wait until the entire wine was shipped from there. Southwest France is also known as the "Vine Museum" because there are many, some of them ancient autochthonous Grape varieties that are increasingly being cultivated again. These are the varieties Arrufiac. Baroque. Duras. Fer. Lauzet. Len de l'El. Mauzac Blanc. Manseng Noir. Négrette and Tannat, These give the wines an independent, typical touch. But they are also the classic Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon represented.
The greatest commonality of the huge area is the Atlantic climate. There is a lot of moisture in winter and spring, warm summers and long, sunny autumns. The region is divided into five major sections, which produce different wine styles with their own character. In the center is the famous brandy region Armagnac, much older than the better known cognac, The north is the big area Bergerac dominates south of it Cahors, In the east there is history Gaillac, And in the southwest corner on the edge of the Pyrenees are the two famous areas Jurançon and Madiran :