Home > Good, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > A Tannat and Cabernet Franc blend from Domaine Brana of Irouléguy

A Tannat and Cabernet Franc blend from Domaine Brana of Irouléguy


Vignoble de l'IroulŽguy - Pays Basque. Image from CRTA - Alain Béguerie. Flickr.

Vignoble de l’IroulŽguy – Pays Basque. Image from CRTA – Alain Béguerie. Flickr.

Thanks to the efforts of Phil I have seen an expansion in offerings of wine from South-West France beyond Cahors and Madiran.  Today’s post features a wine from Irouléguy, a historically Basque region that was ceded to the French in the 17th century.  The vines are typically planted on terraces that are steep enough to require work by hand.  The soils are of reddish sandstone with some areas of alluvia from the Pyrenees.  The Brana family were traditionally negociants dating back to the late 19th century.  After establishing a successful distillery the family purchased land for their vineyard and winery Domaine Brana.  The slopes exceed a gradient of 65% so visits to Switzerland and Marcillac took place to learn how to farm such a difficult site.  From these vines they produce the 2011 Domaine Brana, Ohitza, Irouléguy which is a Tannat heavy blend with Cabernet Franc.  It is a flat-out compelling wine that drinks very well.  It has a lovely blend of strength from the Tannat and herbaceousness from the Cabernet Franc.  Jenn had a particularly interesting comment.  For her the “bell pepper” note reminded her of the wine we drank in Washington state before they became big and ripe.  I strongly recommend that you try this wine.

To learn more about this region I recommend you read Eric Asimov’s Splendor in Solitude as well as Paul Strang’s South-West France.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

Ohitza1

2011 Domaine Brana, Ohitza, Irouléguy – $19
Imported by Wine Traditions LTD.  This wine is a blend of 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Franc that was aged 12 months in used barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed chocolate and greenhouse aromas the first night then refined sweet fruit.  The mouth followed the nose with balanced red fruit, fine wood notes, and good long-grained tannic structure.  There were flavors of chocolate and a sweet herbaceousness.  The flavors were dry with texture, acidity, and black licorice in the finish.  There was much to offer!  *** Now-2017.

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