winemaker Location: Peio Espil
Grape varieties : 3 ha white grape varieties - 70% Petit Manseng and 30% Petit Courbu
7 ha red grape varieties - 35% Tannat, 50% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Surface Winery: 30 ha including 10 ha of vines
Certification: organic (AB Ecocert)
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Peio Espil produces at Winery Ilarria great wines from the Basque Country, in the Irouleguy appellation. Certified organic for a long time, Winery was the first Winery to vinify outside the Irouléguy cooperative and the first Winery to be certified organic on the Irouleguy appellation.
To meet Peio Espil is to plunge into the long history of the Basque Country. Since the 12th century, the monks of Roncesvalles have been cultivating vines in the valleys of Irouléguy to serve wine to the pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela. Ilarria is a family farm which practised mixed farming for several centuries until 1987 where only vines are grown on south-facing slopes.
If the old vines of Winery Ilarria (1.30 ha) are essentially planted on sandstone terroirs, the plantations started in 1988 were only on limestone terroirs on the slopes overlooking the village of Irouleguy.
The reds are made from tannat, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon. The whites are based on petit manseng and petit courbu.
Typical grape varieties of Winery Ilarria
Tannat represents the majority of the black grape surfaces of the appellation. Of a rather regular production, it confers on the wines the structure and power characteristic of the wines of Irouleguy. It also brings aromas of red and black fruits and flowers. It confers an important ageing potential to the wines made from it.
Petit Manseng is present in the Jurançon, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Irouleguy appellations. Grape variety has a very similar appearance to its cousin Gros Manseng, from which it is distinguished by smaller bunches and berries, and much lower productivity. Grape variety which brings a lot of volume to the wines, as well as a dense aromatic complexity (pineapple, exotic fruits, citrus fruits...).
Petit Courbu is a grape variety that is not widely planted in the appellation. It accounts for a third of the Winery white wine plantations, which is very rare. As its name suggests, it has tightly packed bunches. The Petit Courbu is of great interest because of the finesse and smoothness it brings to the wines, accompanied by aromatic, often mineral notes.
Peio Espil is very respectful of the terroir and the environment: it practices low yield production (30 to 35 hl/ha), manual harvesting, and intervenes very little during vinification. It favours a natural vinification, working with indigenous yeasts and bacteria, and only adding sulphur at bottling.
Today, Ilarria has established itself as a flagship Winery in Irouléguy in the vinification of natural wines.