Browse Tag


King of men

Ilarria 2007 Irouléguy Rouge (Southwest France) – Since falling in fairly deep love with this property during a brief drop-in visit, I’ve had a long and difficult codependent relationship with the basic reds, which can occasionally show their form, but mostly insist on truculence and pebble-kicking foot-shuffling. And that’s true whether the bottles are sourced in the States or in France. I don’t know what the issue is, but the true goodness I know is within these wines just never really shows on demand. This particular bottle brings difficult, dark fruit that fades in and out, large-chunked earth, and a cloudy structure. There’s so much here, glimpsed in moments and daydreams, but nothing coalesces. (6/11)

I roule

Ilarria 2007 Irouléguy (Southwest France) – Chewy, rebellious fruit, dark and a little wild. Peppercorns and espresso (not the oaky kind), wet black soil and logarithmic structure. Luscious. Ageable, but probably not too long. (8/10)

Ilarria David

Ilarria 2008 Irouléguy Rosé (Southwest France) – There are only a few rosés that I think really benefit from aeration, but this is one: papery, walled-in, a Forbidden City of a wine at first opening, this takes several hours to get going. The end result is still no easy-drinking rosé, but roughly-textured creek bed rocks with the bite of sharp, wild red fruit that one picks alongside a sub-Alpine trail, slightly underripe but all the more refreshing for it. Still, in the end, it doesn’t amount to much more than reasonable goodness. The house’s other wines are, I think, better. (8/10)

Fear of Haitza

Riouspeyrous “Domaine Arretxea” 2001 Irouléguy “Cuvée Haitza” (Southwest France) – Past it, and I wonder if the oak treatment hasn’t accelerated its decline. Quite tannic, with the remnants of overworked fruit and a dry finish. Dark and coal-hearted, but already with all four limbs and most of its torso in the grave. (10/09)

Driving into the past

[misty larrau gorge]Contradiction. Confusion. Clarity. I’m in search of all three, and expect to find them where I’m headed. Yet another disputed region in which conflict catalyzes creativity, and where traditions elsewhere preserved in amber and writ are not yet done being made. Where one’s geographical location depends on who one asks, where language is who one is rather than what one speaks, and where home is what one is called rather than where one lives. Where the streets have neither no nor one name, but two. And where the beef on one’s plate might actually be watermelon.

…continued here.

Etxe fingers

Hillau “Domaine Etxegaraya” 2002 Irouléguy (Southwest France) – Clinging to relevance. Sharp-tongued animate blackberries, a sort of meat residue aroma, some fairly luscious darkness, but it’s all on the verge of drying out. This would likely be much better under another closure than its synthetic cork, and while this is the best-preserved of the four bottles thus far, given the circumstances it would have been better to drink it at release. (1/09)