Peio Espil (Photo Charles Neal)

The Distinctive Irouleguy Wines of Domaine Ilarria!

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A few months ago we placed our twice-yearly order for wines from Peio Espil at Domaine Ilarria. It was a small order, as these fascinating wines have remained largely unknown and appreciated by only a few of our most intrepid customers. We're happy to see in yesterday's New York Times that Mr. Asimov's excellent article on the wines of Irouleguy will considerably broaden American's knowledge of the region and in particular, the wines of Peio Espil, whose work we have long admired.

Mr. Espil took over the family estate in the late 80's after working at La Tour Banche in Sauternes and Domaine Cauhapé in Jurancon. He has always worked with organic methods, and a tasting with the sunny and expansive Mr. Espil will often turn to the life of the soil. When I advanced the idea that not plowing at all was best for soil health, if local conditions permit, Peio's face lit up into a broad smile and he said "I haven't plowed in 25 years!" We are in complete agreement that living soils are a prerequisite for making the most interesting wines of terroir and we urge you to try some of these great wines from Irouleguy! DL

 

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Ilarria 2013 Irouléguy Rosé

This is a very full-bodied Rosé from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat grown on limestone and schiste soil. It's a charming and peppery wine that is, above all, unique in our selection of Rosés for its deep color, its delicious hebacity, and its full body. The nose offers very deep berry fruits such as currant and cherry, all of which carry through to the palate, which is both fruity and earthy. The finish is long with firm acidity and lingering berry fruit. This is a serious, refreshing, even tannic Rosé, showing its Tannat component in its structure. A Rosé I look forward to all season long. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

Ilarria 2012 Irouléguy Rouge

Peio Espil took over his family’s estate in Irouleguy (in the Basque country of France) in the late 1980s after stints at La Tour Blanche in Sauternes and Domaine Cauhapé in Jurancon. Here he strictly adheres to a Fukuoka-inspired way of organic farming, stressing biodiversity in the vineyards with the overall health of the soil being his number one concern. The rouge cuvée is a hearty blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in sand and clay soils, rich in iron. On the nose it is dense and dark with aromas of cassis, cherry liqueur, cedar, smoke, and freshly toasted herbs. The palate is ripe and rich with bright red raspberry and sturdy tannins, making it a fantastic choice for red meat, game, or hard cheeses. Some may find it a bit too intense when young, but never fear! This would be excellent in 3-8 years. Tim Gagnon

 

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic

Ilarria 2009 Irouléguy Bixintxo

Iroulegy is the southwestern most appellation in France, nestled in the green rolling hills of French Basque country where vines have been cultivated since the 11th Century. The soils here are sand and clay, rich with iron. This is a delicious blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Tannat from a great organic estate run by Peio Espil. Low yields and great vineyard work give this elegant medium-bodied wine earthy strawberry fruit and subtle hints of spice as well as black fruits from the Tannat. It benefits from decanting if drinking now and will improve for 6 to 8 years in the cellar. The wine has characteristics of Bordeaux but with a rustic edge and uncanny ability to pair well with hard sheep's milk cheese. -msb

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

Ilarria 2012 Irouléguy Blanc

Irouleguy is in the far southwest of France, French Basque country, to be specific, and if you have not yet had an Irouleguy experience, now is the time. From the excellent, organically certified Domaine Ilarria comes this blend of Petit Mensang and Corbu. The wine is rich and unctuous with notes of preserved lemon and sour honey on the nose. Not a fruity wine by any means, the palate is dense with acidity, texture, and alcohol. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99