Originating from the purchase of land in the north-east of section of Chateauneuf in 1703, Domaine de Barroche has been handed down from father to son ever since.
In the 1970s Christian Barrot came to run the estate and did so with great care, bottling some wine himself but mostly selling wine in bulk to the negotiant houses to the north. Since the early 2000’s, brother and sister team of Julien and Laetitia Barrot have focused on identifying the particular qualities of each plot within the estate’s 15 hectares of vines which has resulted in the bottling of various cuvees with their own distinct character. The tete de cuvee Julien Barrot, the 100% Grenache cuvee Pure – also expressed in a white version from Clairette – the Grenache/Syrah blend Fiancee and the Liberty cuvee, an old vine bottling sourced from grapes just outside the Chateauneuf Appellation, labelled as vin de France.
A new winery came into operation in 2015. Vinifiaction follows a cold soak and takes place in cement tanks with pump overs and then, as is common in the region, the wine is aged in vessels dependent on grape type – foudres for the Grenache, second and third pass barrels for the Mourvedre and Syrah and stainless steel for the Cinsault.
The tiny production 2020 ChÃ¢teauneuf Du Pape Pure is all Grenache brought up in a single foudre. It's slightly lighter-hued than the base cuvÃ©e (which is normal) and offers a heavenly perfume of black cherries kirsch liqueur roasted garrigue Asian spices licorice and graphite. This carries to a full-bodied ChÃ¢teauneuf du Pape revealing remarkable elegance and purity ultra-fine tannins perfect balance and a great great finish. I'm not sure it has the same level of grandeur as the 2019 but itâ€™s not far off and time will tell. Regardless this beauty has everything you could want in a great wine: richness power elegance and complexity. It's a true â€œWowâ€? wine in every regard and will shine for 15-20 years.
Tasted from its single foudre the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Pure looks to be another great vintage for this cuvée. Full-bodied supple and richly textured it features vibrant blackberry fruit this year accented by hints of dried spices and brighter-than-normal acids which give it a slightly edgy quality and a long briny/salted licorice finish. When I arrived at Domaine la Barroche last fall Julien Barrot reported that they had finished picking grapes the previous Saturday just before the latest round of rains that punctuated the 2021 harvest. "There are two vintages in years like this" he said. "The folks who got frosted are still waiting." We tasted from a number of foudres and the wines certainly looked promising although I prefer not to formally evaluate such young wine. "The season was great crops were good" said Barrot. "And now when we see the rain we are happy for next year." Barrot said the domaine's parcels routinely average between 30 and 35 hectoliters per hectare (35 is the maximum allowed by the appellation). "To my way of thinking you are not doing better wine with less" he said. Special this year was the opportunity to taste a new cuvée from 2018 a monovarietal Mourvèdre produced in a single demi-muid. I suspect it will be near impossible to source but fans of that idiosyncratic grape variety will absolutely want to track down a bottle or two. We also sampled the Signature and Pure bottlings from the early-maturing 2011 vintage. While marked by the heat of the year both remain viable but consumers shouldn't wait any longer to drink up.
Generous and enticing this also shows poise and great balance between generous elements of red fruit lavender iron-edged minerality and singed alder which meld together on the seamless palate. This carries its weight effortlessly with talc-fine tannins gliding through the impressively long finish. Drink now through 2035. ?K.B.