2015 Domaine Leon Barral Faugères
10% Off Six or More Bottles
Didier Barral represents the thirteenth generation to grow grapes in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric, within the confines of the Faugères appellation deep in the heart of the Languedoc. While his forebears made a living off of cultivating the vine, Didier took the family business to the next level when he began estate-bottling and commercializing his wines on a larger scale in 1993.
Named for Didier’s grandfather, Domaine Léon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing: shortly after founding the domaine, Didier decided that biodynamic practices were the best choice for farming his thirty hectares of vineyards. He has pioneered numerous innovative agronomic techniques with the goal of establishing his vineyards as a self-sustaining ecosystem. This Renaissance man, naturalist, and biodynamic maven commands tremendous respect among his peers for his visionary approach to topics like soil management, pest control, and drought mitigation in his vineyards.
Incorporating biodynamic practices necessitates enormous investment and an uncompromising work ethic. With so much land to farm, it is fortunate that Didier has so much help. His workers of choice? A team of twenty cows, horses, and pigs that roam the vineyards during winter, grazing the cover crops while adding natural fertilizer to the soil. Without compacting the earth the way a tractor would, the animals effectively cultivate healthy microbial activity, bringing mushrooms, ants, ladybugs, earthworms, and other essential life forms, which add important nutrients while aerating the soil. This is the concept of sustainability at its finest, where the ecosystem thrives from the symbiotic relationships Didier has fostered amid the vines.
Wine Spectator 93 Points: Didier Barral eschews syrah for this blend, focusing instead on the Languedoc natives carignan, grenache and cinsault. The vines are 40 to 70 years old, growing on schist, and he’s farmed them biodynamically since the 1990s. The result is a wine that feels impossibly vibrant and youthful for a four-year-old, the fruit bright red, tangy and pure. Yet there’s nothing sweet or heavy about it: Notes of bay leaf, rose petals and a touch of pickle come through its gauzy layers, keeping the wine light and breezy, elegant and thirst quenching.
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