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2020 Irouléguy Rouge “Cuvée Haitza”

Domaine Arretxea

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Deep in Basque country, the lovely Thérèse and Michel Riouspeyrous have ceded management of their small domaine to their sons, Iban and Teo (a significant career shift for the brothers after years of total domination on the Basque pilota court). Building off their parents’ decades of work that earned Irouléguy precious recognition, they have produced a master class with their latest release of the domaine’s vin de garde. A black wine made from steep inclines planted to Tannat and some Cabernet Sauvignon, it demands patience while its dense, mouth-coating tannins slowly release their clutching grip. Properly aged, it will stand tall alongside top cuvées from the likes of Tempier, Clape, and Joguet.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Irouléguy
Country: France
Region: Southwest
Producer: Maison Arretxea
Winemaker: Thérese & Michel Riouspeyrous
Vineyard: 20 years, 2 ha
Soil: Sandstone
Aging: Aged for 16 months on the lees in foudre and 400 to 600-L demi-muid
Farming: Biodynamic (certified)
Production: 3300 cases
Alcohol: 12.5%

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About The Region

Southwest

map of Southwest

Tucked away beneath Bordeaux and buffeted by the Pyrenees to the south, this expansive region of France, commonly known as the Southwest, is home to a diverse number of viticulture and gastronomic traditions as well as cultures. Though Cahors might be the most well known (and easiest to pronounce) appellation from the Southwest, the importance and influence of French Basque culture cannot be underestimated. Irouléguy, the primary appellation of the Basque region of France produces full-bodied, hearty red wines, produced from Tannat grape (known for its tannic qualities). Dry whites from Irouléguy are also produced from Petit and Gros Manseng. Northeast of Irouléguy is the sweet wine-producing appellation of Jurançon. These moelleux wines made from Petit and Gros Manseng have a storied history in France, from being the first wine region to have a vineyard classification, which dates back to the 154th century, to being preferred wine of royalty dating back to the 16th century as well as the French poet Colette.

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Terroirs

Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.

Inspiring Thirst, page 312

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