Like I’ve said before, there’s no secret about my fascination with Sud-Ouest wines. I think I’ve also mentioned a few times that I generally don’t care much for Cabernet Franc. But there are always exceptions, and I’ve found a few Cab Francs in the past year or so that I really liked.
Here’s a cool Cab Franc - from an awesome wine region that Americans don’t hear about very often - the 2010 Herri Mina from Irouleguy. I’ve written up one other red from Irouleguy, the Ohitza. If I remember correctly, the Ohitza is a bit more rustic in style than the Herri Mina.
Irouleguy is a wine region in Sud-Ouest. It’s very near to Spain, by the Pyrenees (Basque wine, really), and the wines are so unique. (I’m still currently looking for a white Irouleguy - presumably made from Courbu and Manseng and the like - that should be interesting!)
The Herri Mina, for my palate, is a nice example of a smooth Cab Franc without the excess bell pepper characteristics. Instead, it’s got nice fruit notes, a bit of pepper, and expressive mineral, with a very clean feel. The wine is nicely balanced and while it’s unique because of where it comes from, it’s not as bizarre or off-beat as some of the other wines I tend toward, particularly from Sud-Ouest. I think it’s quite food friendly and it’s a nice wine for sipping alone as well.
There are some days when I honestly wonder how wines like this haven’t become more popular, and that places like Irouleguy are pretty much unheard of. The wines aren’t strange, they’re not priced out of the market, they’re just a little different and they’re worth noticing.