Béarn wine is a type of wine produced in the southwestern region of France, near the town of Bayonne. Its area of production is relatively small, making up approximately 670 acres. It is produced in a humid oceanic climate which is moderated by the effect of the Pyrénées mountain range that can be found nearby along the French border with Spain.
Like many parts of the country, wine in this region of France has a deep history – in this case stretching all the way back to the time of colonization by the Roman Empire. In the 1200s, a local lord built a fortified village nearby, allowing the production to pick up in volume. Moving forward in history, it is known that the mother of King Henry IV of France, Jeanne d’Albret, thoroughly enjoyed Béarn wines. The Béarn wine designation first received official protected status from the government of France in 1951 and was later awarded protected designation of origin status in 1975, reflecting the time-tested traditions and savoir-faire of local viticulturists.
Béarn wines are primarily made as red or rosé varieties, although a small amount of white wine is also made under the Béarn name. The red wines have a reputation for their flavor of dark red fruits – particularly berries like blueberries and cherries and are traditionally served with red meats, poultry and game meat. They should be served at around three to five years after being bottled. The rosés are known for their tart red berry flavors and should be consumed before the wine ages too much. The small amount of white wines produced every year are typically served with hors d’oeuvres, fish, and shellfish.