oz wine company | 41 Rogers road, haverhill Ma | 978-373-9463

Domaine Ilarria

The Irouleguy AOC is part of the Pays Basque or Basque country, an area that extends up the Atlantic coast and into Spain.  It’s a beautiful region with green rolling hills, mountain landscapes, iron red soils, and thousands of sheep.  When I was there in 2009, there were only 7 independent wine producers and one large cooperative, which made over 90% of the wine.  Today there are 14 independents, so not much has changed!  It’s a region perhaps better known for apple cider production than wine.

 

Domaine Illaria is one of the regions first wineries and is owned and managed by Peio Espies Peio, a local to the area, along with his wife Lucie and their two sons. His family, as well as their neighbors in the small town of just over 300 inhabitants, communicate primarily through this ancient endangered language- Basque. Although everyone speaks French, Basque is the primary language spoken.

 

After spending some time in Africa with the peace corps, and interning at La Tour Blanche in Sauternes (also at Domaine Cauhapé in Jurançon) Peio returned to the family domaine in 1988. The family now farms 10 hectares of vines, located along the steep hillsides common in the Irouleguy region. The main white grapes planted are Petit Manseng and Courbu, with red grapes Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon taking the majority.

 

Domaine Illaria has been certified organic through Ecocert since 2008. Working completely organically, Peio feels he obtains a stronger, more natural yeast formation within his vineyards. While many producers in the region have carved out terrasses along the hillsides, Peio prefers to plant top to bottom, feeling it creates less erosion. In addition, while many of the vineyards of Irouléguy are planted on iron-rich, red soils, most of Peio’s plantings are on gray limestone, which gives a particular mineral lift to the domaine’s wines.

 

All grapes are 100% hand-harvested and destemmed. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and all wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks- unfined and unfiltered except for minimal filtration for the rose and white.

Domaine Ilarria, Blanc

VARIETAL: A blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Corbu

VINEYARDS: 6 hectares are planted on steep slopes.

VINE AGE: Average age 10 - 30 years old.

SOIL: Chalky

FARMING: Certified Organic

VINIFICATION: Grapes are hand-harvested, pressed and vinified in vat. Malolactic is normally permitted and the fermented wine is left on its fine lees over the winter prior to it's spring bottling.

Domaine Ilarria Rose

VARIETAL: A bland of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Tannat

VINEYARDS: 6 hectares are planted on steep slopes.

VINE AGE: Average age 10 - 30 years old.

SOIL: Limestone & schiste

FARMING: Certified Organic

VINIFICATION: aged sur lie in both tank and barrel (16-24 months in used barriques, depending on the vintage)

Domaine Ilarria ROUGE

VARIETAL: Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

VINEYARDS: 6 hectares are planted on steep slopes.

VINE AGE: Average age 10 - 30 years old.

SOIL: Chalky

FARMING: Certified Organic

VINIFICATION: Aged in older barriques for 18-24 months depending on the vintage.