The Wine & Gastronomy of southwest France
Iberian Traveler offers exclusive 2 to 7-day private guided tours of southwest France's premier wine growing regions for small groups (minimum of 4, maximum of 16) from early March through late November.
Custom designed self-guided wine and gastronomy tours of France's most popular wine touring destinations are available year around for individuals, small groups of friends or families. Contact Iberian Traveler for additional information or to request a custom tour package.
The Irouléguy Wine Region
The Irouléguy AOP in the Pays Basque lies in the lush green rolling hills along the northern slopes of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques boarding the Basque Country (País Vasco) of northern Spain, and produces fruity, tannic reds, full-bodied, tangy whites and intensely fruity and deeply colored rosés. It is one of the smallest wine growing regions of France with only 14 vineyards covering 240 hectares and some 15 villages, with winemaking here dating back more then 2000 years.
The appellation, granted in 1970, includes the villages of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the traditional starting point of the Camino de Santiago's French Route, Saint-Étienne-de Baïgorry, with its half-timbered home and ancient Roman footbridge, and the heart of the region, the tiny, classic Basque village of Irouléguy, with its white houses with red shutters and terra-cotta tiled roofs. Wineries include Domaine Brana, Maison Arretxea, Domaine Abotia, Jean-Claude Berrouet's Herri Mina, La Cave d'Irouléguy, Ilarria Bixintxo, Domaine Etxegaraya and Domaine Ameztia and Lionel Osmin & Cie
Wine making in the Irouléguy dates back more then two-thousand years and followed a path similar to other parts of France, first being introduced by the Romans and later developed in part by the monks of Roncesvalles, who made wine for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, following the Route of Saint James to Galicia.
In the Jurançon
Located close to the Irouléguy wine region, the Jurançon also sits in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and when combined with the Irouléguy, makes for an interesting tour of the region.
Winemakers here produce two styles of white wine, the classic Jurançon, the celebrated sweet wine which was used to christen the future king, Henry IV, in the 16th-century, and their Jurançon Sec, a deliciously fragrant dry white produced from vineyards tucked away in the sun filled hillsides of Southwest France.