The Basque country lies along the southwestern border of France and Spain, deep in the dramatic Pyrenees mountains. The eleventh century monks of Roncevaux made wine to cater to a population of tourists-religious pilgrims traveling through the mountain pass from France on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. However, throughout the centuries, wine production dissipated drastically. Although Irouleguy was awarded its own A.O.C. in 1970, by the late twentieth century, most of the remaining vignerons were selling to the local cooperative.
Jean-Claude Berrouet is an Irouléguy native who left home to serve for more than three decades as the winemaker at Château Pétrus. But the Basque region has a powerful pull, and Jean-Claude eventually returned home to his native soil. Appropriately, he named his estate “Herri Mina”; in Basque, herri means “country,” and mina means “homesick.”Jean-Claude makes a splendid white blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Corbu and Petit Manseng.