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Vines on the Basque Coast Cliffs :

a dream come true

Vignes de la Corniche

Emmanuel Poirmeur’s dream was to earn his living making wine on the Basque Coast, and to plant as a free pioneer vines on virgin territory.  


In 2005, walking along the Basque Ledge with his friend Xavier Choné (an expert in wine soils), Emmanuel experienced a feeling of déjà-vu. The landscape reminded him of the vineyards of Chile or Italy, where sea, mountain and vines all come together.


He realised that this was the place where his dreams could become reality, on the outskirts of the listed site of the Basque Ledge, in Urrugne, 100 meters above the Ocean.



Like a pioneer in a new world, with nobody to guide him, Emmanuel Poirmeur started to study the soils and the climate, and he discovered their extraordinary potential. He settled for Chardonnay, a great grape variety, capable of producing the greatest white and sparkling wines.


Determined to respect the land and the vines, Emmanuel is an advocate of non-intervention.  This helps him to understand the spontaneous taste of the soils and ultimately finds the expression of the grapes. Emmanuel also favours the most respectful methods, in accordance with this exceptional land. He uses wooden stakes and massive grass covering. He doesn’t trim his vines or remove leaves, and in winter he grooms and nurtures the soil with the help of sheep, making sure that the vines are naturally and spontaneously protected by constant winds and iodized ocean sprays…


All vine practices are entirely manual, to preserve soils and plants. The choice of such methods, combined with extreme weather conditions, mean that the crops are irregular and the yields lower.


These soft methods are also applied in the cellar: soft pressuring like in champagne, frozen clarification/sedimentation, spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeasts without remontage, and a very long ageing process on fine lees (24 to 36 months).


The 2 hectares of vineyards and the soft methods make Erlaitza a rare and exceptional wine.

ERLAITZA Chardonnay de la Corniche Basque
ERLAITZA, Chardonnay

“Erlaitza was a revelation to me. I didn’t expect such a wine from young vines, growing on an untried soil”, comments Emmanuel.


Erlaitza’s flavours are complex, with notes of citrus, spices, bergamot and beech wood. Its power increases slowly, and reveals itself as soon as you open the bottle. It’s a mysterious and captivating wine.


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