FRANCE | SOUTHERN RHÔNE
Today, Domaine La Barroche is represented by a veritable patchwork of family members, in much that way that Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s 13 grape varieties reflect the appellation’s complexity. Each person has their own individual character, but the same love of the terroir. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the men and women who have built, shaped, developed and inspired the Domaine through the centuries.
Alexandre Barrot, the founder – The family patriarch, Alexandre, bought the first land comprising the present-day Domaine in the village de Châteauneuf du Pape in 1703. It has been handed down from father to son ever since.
Eugène Gabriel Barrot, discoverer of terroirs – In the late 19th century, the present owners’ great-grandfather, Eugène Gabriel, carefully observed the soil in order to select plots worthy of planting with vines. At that time, it was normal for people to help their neighbours and, seeing as Eugène Gabriel had two winepresses, he often went to nearby estates to press their grapes from them.
Women winegrowers, essential to the Domaine in many ways – Far too often in the shadow, the women at Domaine La Barroche constantly strive to keep life at the Domaine going smoothly. They are the salt of the earth – the binding agent of the Barrot family and virtuosos at perpetuating an enviable lifestyle from generation to generation.
Christian Barrot, an unwavering passion – Even though young people at many neighbouring estates left to work in factories and abandoned their family vineyards in the middle of the wine crisis in the 1970s, Christian Barrot decided to take over the family estate. Christian knew the value of his terroir and what it was capable of producing. So he focused on making the most of it. Plot by plot, year after year, Christian achieved his vineyard’s full potential. He bottled a small part of the wine himself, calling it Lou Destré D’Antan (meaning “The Winepress of Days Gone By” in Provençal) in honour of his grandfather.
Julien & Laetitia Barrot, the up-and-coming generation – Julien and Laetitia, brother and sister, are totally committed to their terroir, and exemplify the family values handed down to them. They arrived at the family estate in the early 2000s, and their future looks very bright.
Laetitia, the elder sibling, contributes her feminine sensitivity to a world that is traditionally masculine. She is unquestionably one of the Domaine’s driving forces and totally indispensable for its development. With a background in communication and international commerce, she considers the world small, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape its centre. After working for large international groups for over a decade, Laetitia felt the need to get back to her roots and to promote her family’s terroir and its wine.
Julien, the younger brother, has the resolute character typical of winegrowers devoted to their vocation and appellation. He came to work at the estate in 2002, barely 22 years of age, just after finishing his studies of oenology and with a business degree. Motivated by a burning desire to learn, he belongs to the new, totally committed generation of winemakers who are very open-minded, although greatly respectful of the terroir and the traditions passed on from previous generations. He has been responsible for making several vintages and pinpointing the specific qualities of every plot, leading to the creation of various cuvées with their own individual character: Pure and Fiancée.
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan
- A new wine from Julien, his Vin de France comes mostly from a parcel of 65-year-old-vines planted in a cooler, higher elevation parcel. In addition, it includes some of his declassified Châteauneuf-du-Pape grapes, hence the Vin de France label and not Côtes du Rhône (Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the few appellations that cannot be declassified to Côtes du Rhône.) Made from 55% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre and the rest Cinsault and Carignan, it tastes like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape with its juicy black raspberry, violets, peppery herbs and distinct minerality. This comparison is certainly still valid on the palate, as well and its medium to full-bodied, concentrated and structured, with a sappy, grippy style that will evolve nicely for 7-8 years or more. Don’t let the Vin de France label sway you, this is the real deal.❞ – Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate (October 2016)
- 92 POINTS – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (October 2016)
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Vaccarèse, Clairette Rose, Cinsault
- Ripe and warm in feel, featuring steeped plum and red currant fruit wrapped with melted red licorice, apple wood and bay leaf notes. The focused finish has ample spine, with a strong bolt of iron at the end. Best from 2020 through 2035.❞ – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (September 2018)
- Vinified in concrete and aged in a combination of foudre, demi-muids and stainless steel, it offers a tight, grippy, medium to full-bodied and beautifully structured style, and classic notes of black raspberries, black cherries, crushed flowers and hints of crushed rock...terrific length on finish.❞ – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (October 2016)
- 94 POINTS – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (September 2018)
- 92 POINTS – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (October 2016)
97% Grenache + 3% Others
- Similarly coloured to the Signature cuvée, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pure boasts a heavenly, classic Pure perfume of wild strawberries, kirsch, and black cherries intermixed with exotic spices, crushed flowers, nori (the seaweed wrapper used for sushi), and sandy, loamy, earthy notes. Possessing full-bodied richness and a multi-dimensional, ultra-fine, yet intense and powerful style on the palate, it has the purity of the vintage and is just a quintessential example of this cuvée that couldn’t get any better. It reminds me of the 2005, only with more purity and freshness. It’s already sensational (it’s probably the most approachable vintage of this cuvée I remember) but this cuvée always gains depth and weight with bottle age. Give it 3-4 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy bottles over the following two decades. Hats off to the young Julien Barrot for yet another truly sensational wine.❞ – Jeb Dunnuck, (August 2018)
- There are nearly 300 cases of the nectar that is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pure. Produced from 100+-year-old Grenache vines grown in sandy soils, simply put, it’s just awesome juice. A kaleidoscope of red fruits—cherries, raspberries and strawberries—swirl languorously across the palate, boasting great intensity while seeming weightless at the same time. Hints of dried herbs and spices add complexity to this luscious concoction, which must be tasted to be believed. Silky and endless, and showing no alcoholic heat on the finish, it’s the poster child for great Grenache. Am I being too conservative at 99 points?❞ – Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker (August 2018)
- 100 POINTS – Jeb Dunnuck, (August 2018)
- 99 POINTS – Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker (August 2018)
- LIMITED QUANTITY available at BC Liquor Stores