Tasting this remarkable, balanced and vibrant cabernet franc from the Basque country, in Southwestern France, I was impressed by how discreetly it is produced by the owner of this small, 4.5-hectare (10-acre) biodynamic domaine, none other than Jean-Claude Berrouet, winemaker at Château Pétrus from 1964 to 2007. Born in Basque country, Berrouet bought Herri Mina in 1998 and produces a white (from gros manseng, petit manseng and petit courbu) and a red (100% cabernet franc) that he vinifies at nearby Domaine Brana. You’d be hard pressed to say that Berrouet is tooting his own horn very loud: one finds very limited information online, and barely anything about this red wine that is a hundred times less expensive than Pétrus. Yet this is an exemplary Cabernet Franc, with beautiful fruit, remarkably fine texture, nice herbal edges, mineral undertones and subtle yet very present tension. This is a wine you could meditate over, if you so wish, or drink joyously with friends over a simple meal, now or 15-20 years down the line. Its only flaw is its rarity: the red makes very infrequent appearances in North America, with the white (also remarkable and delicious) showing itself more regularly. It’s worth keeping an eye out for. Highly recommended. RC

WHO: Jean-Claude Berrouet
WHAT: Cabernet Franc
WHEN: 2008
WHERE: Irouléguy, France
HOW MUCH: $30

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About The Author

Remy Charest

Rémy Charest is a Quebec City based journalist, writer, and translator. He has been writing about wine and food for over 12 years in various magazines and newspapers. He writes two wine blogs (The Wine Case, in English, and À chacun sa bouteille, in French) and, as if he didn’t have enough things to do, he also started a food blog in English, The Food Case, and one in French, À chacun sa fourchette.