Basque Country, Atlantic Pyrenees
Limestone soils mixed with some clays and marls. The soils are stony, rocky even, and quick-draining. Western mostly, but Northern exposition on some parcels.
A winemaker to follow closely & a dear friend. Talent and creativity from an individual not groomed by the traditional world of winemaking. Imanol graduated in industrial chemical engineering from the University of Pau. He began his life in wine working directly with the French Adour Cooperage for France & Switzerland. He acquired a decisive experience in constructing his own tastes, extensive work with other passionate and singular winemakers as well as his passion & knowledge for winemaking processes and ageing motivated him to begin to make wine of his own. Imanol began in 2007 with the planting of his first plot of Cabernet franc in his residence of Orthez and released his first cuvée in 2012 in the Madiran denomination in the South West.
“Chasse-souris” Protector of the notorious cuvée Altannativa
Imanol is a transient of the Pyrenees, and his portfolio includes wines from both South West France and Northeastern Spain. He shares his efforts between 2 hectares in his home of Orthez and 5 collaborative hectares over the mountains into Spain. Imanol is producing wine under the Madiran, Irouléguy & Txakolina, Vin de France and Vin d´Espagne appellations. All wine is farmed accroding to biodynamic principles and without any addition of sulfur. Vinification and ageing are carried out in France in most cases.
There is no doubt that Imanol is a shining star from the South West. His philosophy embodies the very essence of natural winemaking. The wines reflect the beauty of vintage variation, of hard work and of a respect for the environment. There is proof again that there is a horizon beyond monolithic wines. From vintage to vintage their are new challenges and new responses to these challenges that Imanol has a skilled hand in transforming into exciting cuvées with personality.
Imanol brings lightness and elegance to his wines. While they have a clear identity, there is also a clear indication that every wine has its own story and that each vinification and subsequent elevage is tailored to the fruits of each vintage. He prefers an elevage in demi-muid and amphora often in combination to express elements of both earth and air. He pursuit for wines made as purely as possible is uninhibited yet clean, they are filled with character & beautifully nuanced.
Ultimately these are wines that display the personality of the maker, complexity; sometimes requiring some effort to understand; but also humbling and full of emotion.