2018 Herri Mina Irouleguy Rouge, Basque Country, France (750ml)

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A native of France's Basque Country, Jean-Claude Berrouet was the winemaker at Château Pétrus for over three decades. After accomplishing great things at that very important Bordeaux estate, he eventually felt the pull of his childhood home and returned to Irouléguy in 1992 to start his own wine label. He named it ‘Herri Mina’ which are the Basque words for ‘country’ and ‘homesick’ and planted 4.5 hectares of vines which he farms biodynamically on the fairly steep south facing slopes of the Pyrénées at 400 feet above sea level. Even though Irouléguy is primarily known for its red wines, Jean-Claude is considered a white wine specialist with his blends of Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Petit Manseng. That said, he also makes a small amount of Irouléguy Rouge with 100% Cabernet Franc.

This 2018 was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 16 months in 10% new French barriques. And it was one of our favorite wines in a recent tasting of Cabernet Francs from around the world, standing out among many other more expensive and 'important' examples of the varietal. Showing classic Cabernet Franc characteristics of slightly herbal and black olive notes with a nicely tannic, rather snappy finish, it is medium bodied, well balanced and pretty refined for a wine from a region more known for rusticity in its wines. With its pretty blackberry flavored fruit, tobacco undertones and subtle earthiness, this is a wine worth experiencing for any fan of Cabernet Franc, or of characterful red wines!

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