July 29, 2014 Kate 0Comment

A wonderfully written article by Eric Asimov in the New York Times Dining & Wine Section today.

Here’s an excerpt, featuring one of our favorites:

For advice, the Branas often go to a family friend, Jean-Claude Berrouet, who for many years oversaw the winemaking at Château Pétrus, the acclaimed Pomerol estate. Mr. Berrouet, whose father grew cherries in Irouléguy, has consulted with winemakers all over the world. But his desire, he said, was always to return to the land of his heritage. In 1992, he planted four and a half acres of sandstone terraces, primarily with white grapes, and produced his first vintage in 1998. He called his wine Herri Mina, which essentially translates as homesick for the country.

“My story is sentimental,” he said. “I have a nostalgic feeling for this region.”

Mr. Berrouet aims for grace and balance, making what he calls “nonsophisticated wines, without technology.” He is passionate about tea, and sees it as an analogy for the structure and aromatic expression he seeks in wine.

“If you steep tea too long, you lose it,” he said. “Balance and modest extraction are crucial to guard the nobility of the wine.”

Indeed, his 2013 Herri Mina white is beautifully balanced and lip-smacking, with savory fruit flavors. He also makes a bit of red, entirely cabernet franc, with stony red fruit flavors and impeccable tension and harmony.

Read the full article and learn more about the wines and place and people of Basque Country here.