(2013) 13% abv. 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Tannat, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 15 months in oak, 40% new. Very dark, rich, chocolate-infused stuff, tight, a touch of medicinal, clove quality, some nice cedary oak and spice. The palate is dry and has lovely depth and concentration. Almost like a meaty, solid Bordeaux of St Estephe perhaps, but a very nice, classic style.
(2013) 13% abv. 65% Tannat, 10% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 12 months in oak barrels, 20% new. From a vintage generally regarded as of outstanding quality. A certain creaminess, a cedary finesse, and tobacco touches, there's a freshness here too. Delicious palate, the fruit concentration is lovely, but always retaining a crisp edge of acidity and very tight, lean tannins. A fine, structured wine with that great balance of medium body and some energy, and weight of concentration.
(2013) 13.5% abv. Domaine Brana's wines are stocked by The Wine Society. This white blend is 50% Gros Manseng, 20% Petit Courbu, 30% Petit Manseng. This is the estate wine (there are also two other cuvées). Aromatic, with passionfruit and elderflower lift, lots of very ripe fruit beneath, some citrus peel. Really fresh and vibrant and an intense palate - a great thwack of grapefruit flavour and acidity, really mouth-watering with a lovely touch of saltiness in the finish.
(2013) 13% abv. 50% Tannat, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. The name means "red stone". Really nice nose, the vinous, cherry and sweet meaty and earthy edges melding nicely, the whole elegantly black fruit and wisps of smoke. Big, powerful palate, lots of grippy, tight and chewy tannin structure here, a tingling spicy finish, but there is freshness.
(2013) 13.5% abv. 60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Tannat. Again a lovely vinous nose, with chocolate and plum depths, but has a sense of smoother, more elegant character and the whole picture has a little more "white space" around it, pepper and spice and an elegant coolness, with medium body and a gentleness to the tannin and acid structure that makes it creamily appealing whilst staying super fresh.
(2013) 14% abv. Arretxea is imported by Caves de Pyrene and farms biodynamically. This white wine is a blend of 55% Gros Manseng, 42% Petit Manseng and 3% Petit Courbu coming from a mix of soils: slate, clay with rough stones and limestone. This has a golden yellow colour with a fine skin-contact nose, melony, with lime rind and a touch of spice. Delicious mouth-filling palate, with lots of powerful flavour and concentration. Quite long, with substantial fruit sweetness but a dry, savoury core of acidity and definite saline, mineral character. A big, substantial wine but not lacking freshness.
(2013) 12% abv. 50% Tannat, 27% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very bold, youthful colour. Very fresh and inviting on the nose, with lots of bright, cherry and rose hip aromatics, a dry charcoal note and refined mineral character. A lovely bracing freshness on the palate here, so much crunchy black fruit, a little layer of cedar and smoke, and a long, spice and pepper-infused finish. Nice touches of liquorice and a roughening plum skin tartness.
(2013) 12% abv. 70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovely smooth and fresh appeal here, the creaminess of the oak and little layer of vanilla, perhaps just a little too much for the fruit. The palate is fairly lean, there is just not quite the flesh and mid-palate concentration for the fruit here, but it is a good wine, with a long and balanced finish. .
(2013) 60% Petit Courbu, 40% Petit Manseng. From chalky soils and certified organic, no sulphur added until a little at bottling, this sees 12 hours of skin contact. It has that earthy, wild yeast character, a touch of herbs a touch of medicinal, clove quality, dry and apple-scented. On the palate this has plenty of ripe, quite weighty fruit, a certain oily, herbal quality a touch of fresh cherry is quite Italianate (Italian red that is!) in a textured, powerful wine with bags of flavour.
(2013) 12% abv. 70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Franc. From schist soils. Lighter, cherry and pomegranate colour. Vinous, gently earthy and gently smoky nose. The palate is bone dry and full of texture and flavour, But there is tannin here, grippy and very dry, little glimpses of roses and red liquorice, a powerful. Very much a food wine this, weight and power despite the low alcohol. Fascinating.