Irouleguy Vineyard – French Story & Translation

Practice your French with this easy French English bilingual learn French in context story and discover about Irouléguy (ear oo lay G-hard ee), the smallest vineyard of France!

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Irouléguy (ear oo lay G-hard ee – attention au son “i” à la fin, pas comme “guy” en anglais !) n’est pas seulement le nom d’un vignoble ; c’est aussi un minuscule et charmant village niché dans les collines du Pays-Basque français.

Irouléguy (ear oo lay G-hard ee – watch out for the “ee” sound at the end, not like “guy” in English) is not only the name of a vineyard, it is also a tiny and charming village nested in the hills of the French Basque Country.

1 – The Irouleguy Monastery


Au XII° siècle, des moines de l’Abbaye de Roncevaux (Espagne) y installent un prieuré (petit monastère) et commencent la culture de la vigne. Ils produisent un vin destiné essentiellement aux pèlerins de St Jacques de Compostelle qui s’arrêtent dans le village.

In the XII century, the monks of the Abbey of Roncesvalles (Spain) set up a priory (small monastery) and begin the culture of the vine. They produce a wine intended primarily for pilgrims to St Jacques de Compostela who stop in the village. 

Après la signature du traité des Pyrénées(1659) les moines quittent le prieuré et les habitants reprennent la vigne.

After the signing of the Pyrenees Treaty (1659 ) the monks leave the priory and the inhabitants take back the vineyard.

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2 – The Irouleguy Vineyard

Le vignoble est disposé en terrasses sur les pentes sud des montagnes à une altitude comprise entre 200 et 450 m. Certaines pentes peuvent atteindre 80% !

The vineyard is laid out in terraces on the southern slopes of the mountains at an altitude between 200 and 450 meters. Some slopes can reach an 80% inclination!

Les vendanges se font à la main comme autrefois. C’est le plus petit vignoble d’Europe avec ses 240 hectares.

Harvesting is done by hand as in the old days. It is the smallest vineyard in Europe with its 240 hectares.


3 – Wines of Irouleguy

Les crus, autrefois vins de table, montent aujourd’hui en gamme grâce au dynamisme de jeunes vignerons passionnés par leur terroir. Ils sont reconnus AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) depuis 1970. Le vin d’Irouléguy est de plus en plus reconnu et populaire ; les vins d’Irouléguy existent en rouges, blancs ou rosés.

The vintages, formerly table wines, are going up-market thanks to the dynamism of young winemakers passionate by their “terroir” (characteristics of this location’s environment). They are recognized AOC (“Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” Protected Appellations of Origin) since 1970. The Irouleguy wine is increasingly notorious and popular. Irouleguy wines come in red, white or rosé .

Les cépages du vignoble d’Irouléguy sont pour la plupart d’origine locale.

 The grapes of the Irouleguy vineyard are mostly from local origin.


Ce sont des vins de caractère, affirmés, puissants et généreux. Ils associent la vigueur et la puissance à la finesse, aux arômes de fruits et aux senteurs florales.
A l’image de leur terroir basque, ils sont vigoureux et exceptionnels !

They are wines full of character: assertive, powerful and generous.
They combine strength and power with the finesse of aromas of fruits and floral scents.
  Just like their Basque terroir, they are strong and exceptional!

Au-delà du vin, vous pouvez rencontrer des vignerons. Ils vous parleront de leur passion pour la vigne, de leur amour pour leur terre basque, et de la fierté de cultiver un vin d’exception.

Beyond the wine, you can meet the winemakers. They will talk to you about their passion for the vineyard, their love for their Basque country, and about the pride they feel cultivating an exceptional wine .

If you liked this article, why not consider a stay in Pays-Basque to better your French? Here is more info about the French Immersion Residential courses recommended by French Today.

If you enjoy learning French in context, check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation. 


I am a certified native French teacher who also speaks Spanish, English & Japanese, and offers immersion stays in my home near Bayonne. I’m passionate about my region and it’s culture, and love doing hikes and cooking regional specialties.

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