Sébastian Le Quérec, export manager of Château Bouscassé and Montus, takes me on a tour through the vineyards. At a hell of a pace, we sweep from one vineyard to the next in his rickety Renault Clio along the narrow roads of Madiran. If you don't know your way around, you're hopelessly lost in the maze of dirt tracks and small roads. It is mid-September and just before the harvest begins. The ripe Tannat grapes hang on the vine like fat, blue-black udders. The vineyard "les menhirs" is particularly worth seeing. The limestone-rich loam of the hilltop is interspersed with limestone chunks that reach the size of menhirs. The thickest, most disturbing chunks have been excavated. Like Stone Age menhirs, they now frame the vineyard. "This is where Madiran's future grows" Alan Brumont told me during the interview. The vineyard "les menhirs" delivers the cuvée of the same name made of 50% Tannat and 50% Merlot. The Mariage (blend) of Tannat and Merlot has something to offer, because both grape varieties complement each other ideally. The Tannat delivers overbearing fruit and strong tannins, the Merlot velvety structure and soft, round body: the bronze fist in the velvet glove. However, the wine has to be bottled as Côtes de Gascogne because Merlot is not allowed in Madiran or in the other main Tannat AOCs. Only in the growing areas that use Tannat only in small quantities anyway, e.g. in Cahors, Merlot is also allowed in the blend.