Domaine Arretxea is located in the appellation of Irouleguy deep in the heart of the Pyrenees and is run by Michel and Thérèse Riouspeyrous. They founded the domaine in 1989 by renting just 2 hectares of vines, and today the 8 hectare estate is at the forefront of wine production in the region. The vineyards are mostly planted to native grape varietals such as Tannat, Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng and all is done strictly according to biodynamic principles. The sandstone soils of Irouléguy are ideal for the aforementioned grapes containing as they do iron oxide, limestone and clay. This lends a mineral intensity to the wines and the reds in particular are earthy and spicy with pronounced tannins.
Irouléguy ‘Cuvée Haitza’ is a blend of Tannat (70%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and is aged for 16 months in foudres and 600-litre demi-muid. Robust and hearty, this pairs surprisingly well with blue or parmesan cheeses. A vivid, dark, red with flashes of violet in the glass. On the nose masses of red fruit aromas suggesting raspberry and plum with hints of cocoa and spice. On the palate, full-bodied and well structured with good length and balanced tannins. The finish is lingering with spicy notes. Try with duck ragu, marinated rib eye steak topped with melted blue cheese or braised leg of lamb with garlic.