Vin de France: Domaine Ilarria Rosé 2020
This is an organic blend of equal parts Tannat and Cabernet Franc from Irouléguy in the western Pyrenees - a wonderfully gastronomic organic rosé wine that works extremely well with dishes rich in olive oil, anchovies and plenty of garlic.
Grown on schist soils, Domaine Ilarria’s rosé wine goes through alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks to allow it to fill out without losing the wonderful berry fruit aromas and flavours from each varietal. Practising minimal intervention winemaking, they use little sulphur as possible to prevent oxidation. In the 2020 vintage, it is labelled as a ‘Vin de France’ rather than Irouléguy as the glucose/fructose level in the final wine exceeds appellation rules by 1g/litre!
Peio Espil suggests serving it lightly chilled as an aperitif, with starters of fish, charcuterie or poached poultry dishes. It’s also a fine partner for a mountainside picnic, particularly with Ossau Iraty cheese and Bayonne ham.
|Style||Rose Wine, Sec, Medium-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Midi, Irouléguy|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Cabernet Franc, Tannat|
|Food & Wine Matching||Charcuterie, Cheese, Chicken and Turkey|
|Cellarage||Drink up to 4 to 5 years from vintage.|
|Vinification||Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, then élevage on it's lees in stainless steel.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||13|
Domaine Ilarria (Peio Espil)
The tiny appellation of Irouléguy centres on the village of the same name in the Basque country near the Spanish border. The Espil family has owned Domaine Ilarria for centuries and the Basque language is still spoken in the family home. One of only 7 independent winemakers here (and the longest-serving), Peio presides over 30 hectares that are farmed organically following natural principles espoused by Japanese microbiologist Masonobu Fukuaka. Only 10 hectares are under vine and farmed organically with 3ha planted with white varieties Petit Manseng and Petit Corbu. The remaining 7ha consists principally of Tannat which yields tannic and long-lived wines so Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are deployed to soften its harder edges for red and rosé.
His characterful Irouléguy blanc is made from a blend of Petit Corbu and Petit Manseng that are left on their fine lees over winter prior to a spring bottling. The finished wine has appealing herb and wildflower scents and a ripe orchard fruit palate with a persistent dry finish. It makes a fine foil for the local cuisine that is rich in olive oil, garlic and spicy piment peppers. Peio's Irouléguy rouge is usually blended from around Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat in descending proportions. With a bouquet of dark cherries and bay plus a palate of forest fruit supported by earthy tannins, it comes into its own with 2 to 3 years bottle age and will cellar well for a decade. He also makes a similar red with no added sulphur and his 'Cuvée Bixinto' only in the best vintages. The latter is a true 'vin de garde' that will cellar for 20 years and hits its stride after around a decade in bottle. His Domaine rosé has a similar cépage to the reds and is designed particularly to drink with food, especially charcuterie, fish and poultry.
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