2005 Domaine Etxegaraya "Cuvee Lehengoa" Irouleguy Rouge
This dark monster is from 150-year-old Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon vines! Marianne Hillau says her ancient vines regularly produce huge one-kilo grape bunches year after year and have no diseases or ailments to speak of. The blend in this cuvée is 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it boasts palatestaining dark, earthy fruit that has great structure and balance, refreshing acidity, plenty of rusticity, and a hearty yet well-ripened tannin. The reds chez Etxegaraya are proof that the Tannat grape doesn't have to produce a harsh, hypertannic wine but is capable of much more. This 2005 is a bravura performance. You won't believe it unless you taste it.