2010LapeyreBearn2010 Domaine Lapeyre, Bearn, Southwest France.
The Bearn region is in the wilds of Southwestern France close to the Pyrenees and it’s capital city is Pau, it is part of both Gascony and Basque country. This is one of the old Provinces of France, in fact it is a historic place and restful, it was the birthplace of Alexandre Duma’s main character d’Artagnan from his tale of The Three Musketeers, and it is the home of some exciting wines. The area has mostly Tannat, but also allows Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in the A.O.C, and while Tannat can be rustic, robust and raw, here it is made with more polish and more, shall we say, like Bordeaux with finesse and it is certainly less bold/shocking than Madiran and the Basque versions. Domaine Lapeyre, made by Pascal Lapeyre, is well crafted with stylish layers, he has embraced this powerful black grape, Tannat, and tamed it in his wines, the 2010 is an exceptional example from a wonderful vintage, he used about 60% Tannat, and the rest being a balance of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it shows the nature of the place and beautiful refined detail. Tannat is groaning in popularity, both in the new world and in it’s spiritual old world home in the Pyrenees, it can be found in Uruguay in South American and also in California, it has become an interesting blending grape in the central coast, finding it’s way into Randall Grahm’s Bonny Doon “A Proper Claret” and it does well in Torrin’s deep reds from Paso Robles where it really shows well. Pascal Lapeyre’s 2010 Bearn shows deep garnet/black color, mountain blackberry, poached plum, dusty cherry and currant fruits along with hints of truffle, game, anise, pepper and cedar spices, along with coffee bean, wild herb, a hint of bell pepper and vanilla. This is a deep and tannic red, but it flows smoothy across the palate and has a nice lengthy finish, this is very impressive country wine, far more interesting than most Bordeaux in this price range, and a lovely showing for Tannat, a grape that you’ll hear more about in coming years, drink this Frenchie from 2014 to 2019, imported by Tannat crazed Charles Neal in San Francisco, who I am grateful to for showing me this fun wine.
($18 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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