The story of Madiran began in the 11th century when Benedictine monks settled in the area and established the Madiran Priory. The monks developed rudimentary winemaking techniques, primarily intended for local use and for Pyrenean mountain dwellers.
At this time it was easy to make wine in Madiran as the grapes were abundant. With its “rustic” qualities and its ability to withstand transport, Madiran wine was often used to supplement wines from other regions in years when harvests were meagre.
Gradually Madiran wine quite naturally became a communion wine. It gained its reputation from pilgrims on the St James’ Way taking the route between Aire-sur-Adour and Lescar.
During the 17th century, with the development of maritime transport via the Adour River and the port of Bayonne, Madiran wines started to become popular in Northern countries. Holland was the first to welcome sweet Pacherenc wines, soon followed by Madiran red wines.
The 20th century marks a turning point for the wines of Madiran. The winemakers began to structure their activity. In 1948 an appellation order was introduced to recognise the Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh appellations. The 1960s saw the first bottlings. In the 1980s, thanks to a handful of pioneers, the appellation made a move towards producing higher calibre wines. The winemakers now realised that in order to attain superior quality and obtain elegant, supple wines, the wine needed to be worked differently, therefore rendering Man’s intervention essential, both in the vineyards and in the cellar. The 2000s saw the heyday for Madiran winemakers who successfully began to assert their expertise, year after year perfecting their know-how in honour of this rare grape variety.