Irouléguy wines are often referred to as coming from “the smallest vineyard in France, the biggest in the Northern Basque region”. And they are the only wines in the area to have earned an AOC (AOP) certification.
As with many places in France, we can thank the Romans for beginning wine-making in the area. The monks continued the ‘tradition’ and expanded the vineyards so that the many pilgrims traveling along the St. James Way would not go thirsty. Finally in 1659, the vineyards were taken over by the local families. The area was granted AOC status in 1970.
70% of the production is red made from tannat, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignan. 20% are rosés. 10% are white from the petit manseng, courbu and gros manseng.
The vineyards themselves can be breathtaking. Some are located on slopes with inclines of up to 60 degrees.