Shepherd/winemaker Jean-Louis Costera established Ameztia as an avenue for his family’s passion for wine. The Costera family has been making wine in Irouléguy since the 17th century. In 2001 Jean-Louis modernized the winemaking facilities on the family’s estate so that they could craft their own world-class Irouléguy. In 2011 Jean-Louis brought his Bordeaux-trained oenologist nephew, Gexan, on board and began transitioning control of the estate to him. Before joining his family winery, Gexan had been making wine at Arretxea.
Jean-Louis has applied his experiences as a shepherd to his winemaking. He believes that the key to a great wine is to tend to the grapes with the same care that a shepherd tends his flock: as the shepherd knows that the best lambs come from a well-nourished ewe, a vintner should know that the best grapes come from a well-tended vine.
Gexan is building on this philosophy nurtured by his uncle. He has begun using more organic treatments in the vineyard along with more green harvests. He also believes in adhering to a truer expression of the region through the use of indigenous yeasts and by expansion of Jean-Louis’s project of replacing their Cabernet Sauvignon vines with Cabernet Franc and the local Tannat varietal.
The estate’s seven hectares of vines are now mostly planted with Tannat and some Cabernet Franc, as well as a little Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng for their white wine. The plots are farmed with the assistance of close family friend Pantxo, who lent his name to a special project: a single-vineyard wine sourced from his best vineyard, called Cuvée Pantxo.