In a nutshell: A bright, elegant and aromatic Southern French white from the Côtes de Gascogne.
The lowdown: Elisabath Prataviera is the winemaker at Domaine Menard situated in the small village of Gondrin in the Côtes de Gascogne and is one of the new wave making really interesting wines from this part of the world. The terroir for Cuvée Marine has a particular type of subsoil comprising decomposed ancient seashells - the inspiration for the wine's name - which allows the Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Gros Manseng to fully express their minerality. It's an expressive and aromatic wine packed with ripe stone fruit, lychee, grapefruit and pinapple aromas and flavours. And it's got good weight and an excellent concentration of ripe fruit balanced by fresh, clean acidity and finishes in nicely lengthy and style.
When to drink: On one hand it's a nice light and fresh glugger and on the other a good partner for grilled chicken and fish.
Domaine de Menard, situated in the heart of Gascony is, these days, run by brother and sister Philippe Jegerlehner and Elisabeth Prataviera. Philippe looks after the vineyards while Elisabeth is the winemaker. They look after 160 hectares of vines and make quite a number whites using tradtional Gascon varieties, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit and Gros Manseng and they grow some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for a few reds and rosés. Also, being in the right part of the country, they also make an Armagnac that goes by the name of Château Menard.