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Irouleguy 'Harri Gorri', Brana 2015

Red Wine from France - SW France (excl. Bordeaux)
Full-flavoured Basque red made mostly from Tannat and Axéria, the local name for cabernet franc in this region of France close to the border with Spain. Deeply coloured, fragrant and elegant and perfect with game.
Price: £19.00 Bottle
Price: £114.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: FC37961

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Tannat
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2028
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

South-West France (ex Bordeaux)

Most of the wine regions representing the south-west of France are linked by river to Bordeaux and were once rivals of the Bordelais for trade. It was certainly not unknown for some of these wines to be brought to Bordeaux in order to stiffen the sinews of some of the thinner clarets in days gone by. However, there is more to the region than those appellations and the Vins de pays/ IGPs up-river of their erstwhile rival.

The south-west can be roughly compartmentalised in to four categories, as follows:

Bergeracois: running along both banks of the Dordogne River and including Bergerac, Monbazillac and other ACs where Bordeaux varieties proliferate, ably and interestingly supported by some local varieties.

Garonne: running along both banks of the River Garonne as far as Agen and featuring Côtes-de-Duras, Côtes-du-Marmandais, Buzet.

Haut-Pays: the area north and north-west of Toulouse including Gaillac, Cahors and the Côtes-du-Frontonnais.

Pyrenees: in the area between Adour and the Pyrenees. ...
Most of the wine regions representing the south-west of France are linked by river to Bordeaux and were once rivals of the Bordelais for trade. It was certainly not unknown for some of these wines to be brought to Bordeaux in order to stiffen the sinews of some of the thinner clarets in days gone by. However, there is more to the region than those appellations and the Vins de pays/ IGPs up-river of their erstwhile rival.

The south-west can be roughly compartmentalised in to four categories, as follows:

Bergeracois: running along both banks of the Dordogne River and including Bergerac, Monbazillac and other ACs where Bordeaux varieties proliferate, ably and interestingly supported by some local varieties.

Garonne: running along both banks of the River Garonne as far as Agen and featuring Côtes-de-Duras, Côtes-du-Marmandais, Buzet.

Haut-Pays: the area north and north-west of Toulouse including Gaillac, Cahors and the Côtes-du-Frontonnais.

Pyrenees: in the area between Adour and the Pyrenees. Here you will find Côtes de Gascogne, Madiran, Jurançon, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Irouléguy, the latter of which is in real Basque country in the foothills of the Pyrennes, close to the Bay of Biscay.

The influence of the Atlantic Ocean is surprisingly strong even this deep inland and it merges with continental and alpine elements across such a large area to provide moist spring weather and wet winters counterbalanced by hot summers and long, sunny autumns just as the grapes are ripening. Naturally, the area is great enough in size for the soils to be incredibly varied across it. Alluvial and marine soils, often gravel and limestone respectively, are common factors in many areas, the former often on rising terraces above rivers or ancient watercourses.

In many appellations and IGPs it has taken the dynamism of forward thinking, passionate cooperatives and visionaries to save the vineyards and indigenous grape varieties of these regions from serious neglect or even extinction. The devastation of phylloxera around the end of the 19th century was particularly bad in these areas and it was not really until the 1970s, and even later in some cases, that a turnaround in fortunes occurred. The roll call of local varieites is impressive and promising – abouriou, arrufiac, baroque, duras, fer servadou, jurançon noir, len de l’el, petit manseng, gros manseng, mauzac, négrette, tannat and peiti courbu. It is a region that should make a curious wine lover’s mouth water.
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Domaine Brana

The 22 hectares of Domaine Brana lie in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in French Basque country. Here the Atlantic has a strong influence on the climate but the Pyrenees offer some protection from rain and typically the region enjoys a long, cool growing season but one blessed with ample sunshine.

Owner and winemaker Jean Brana farms the very steep hillside terraces built when he began working on the estate in 1984. He made a special trip to Switzerland to see how growers dealt with the precipitous slopes of their vineyards and came back to implement the methods he had found, building up the terraces in the process.

Before him the estate concentrated on orchard fruits for distillation into eau de vie but Jean believed that the domaine, founded by his great-grandfather in 1897, could achieve much more and in 1984 he planted the first vines and acquired additional vineyards. At first the grapes were sold to the local co-operative, who dominated production in the area at that time, but within a few years Jean established the first independent domaine in the appellation and has become a leading light. Many others have followed.

Unusually for the appellation Jean focussed on the cabernet franc grape rather than the tannat that is at the heart of many growers’ wines, though he respectfully points out that everyone has their own ideas and styles in the appellation. He firmly believes that cabernet franc originated in his region and he wants to make wines that are more approachable ...
The 22 hectares of Domaine Brana lie in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in French Basque country. Here the Atlantic has a strong influence on the climate but the Pyrenees offer some protection from rain and typically the region enjoys a long, cool growing season but one blessed with ample sunshine.

Owner and winemaker Jean Brana farms the very steep hillside terraces built when he began working on the estate in 1984. He made a special trip to Switzerland to see how growers dealt with the precipitous slopes of their vineyards and came back to implement the methods he had found, building up the terraces in the process.

Before him the estate concentrated on orchard fruits for distillation into eau de vie but Jean believed that the domaine, founded by his great-grandfather in 1897, could achieve much more and in 1984 he planted the first vines and acquired additional vineyards. At first the grapes were sold to the local co-operative, who dominated production in the area at that time, but within a few years Jean established the first independent domaine in the appellation and has become a leading light. Many others have followed.

Unusually for the appellation Jean focussed on the cabernet franc grape rather than the tannat that is at the heart of many growers’ wines, though he respectfully points out that everyone has their own ideas and styles in the appellation. He firmly believes that cabernet franc originated in his region and he wants to make wines that are more approachable than many tannat-dominated wines, with a strong desire to achieve finesse and purity over power.

He practises sustainable viticulture, and points to the amazing diversity of fauna that inhabit his vineyards, from soaring vultures to wild boar, and the bees he keeps to show that his practices are encouraging biodiversity. He has even sited bird houses around the vineyards and has been instrumental in reintroducing the red legged partridge to the area.

The reds see oak but it is used judiciously to avoid dominating the fruit. Since 1989 white wines have been permitted in the appellation and Domaine Brana have planted gros manseng, petit courbu and petit manseng, making them in stainless steel for freshness and purity of fruit flavours.
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2015 vintage reviews

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