TN: 14 Barou [Condrieu]

14 Barou [Condrieu] I’d never heard of this producer before but picked up a bottle at CSW on a recommendation from one of their staff. It comes in an Alsatian/German shaped bottle rather than the usual Rhone shape and clocks in at 14% abv. It doesn’t have coverage from professional reviewers beyond Lermouth although the (small) estate has been around for a couple of decades. I loved it. It’s light bodied but has a terrific nose - complex, layered, floral, honeysuckle, even some of that sweet anesthetic smell too. And on the palate its got plenty of verve to go with food. We had it with cod, eggplant, and heirloom tomatoes - and it pairs well with that. Supposedly this light straw colored wines is biodynamic, and this vineyard is on a steep hillside. I don’t have views on all the ‘cowhorn at midnight’ stuff, but its delicious, balanced wine with long tropical flavors. Our bottle at dinner survived about at hour. A- and a total treat. I need more wine like I need a hole in my head, but now I want to try more of their lineup.

Thx for the TN, I really enjoyed the 2011 version of this.

I haven’t had the Condrieu but I have drunk a lot of their syrahs over the last five or six years – both the St. Joseph and the Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes.

I think this is a Chambers direct import, and I don’t think it’s widely available (although I believe K&L was selling some of the reds in California). That could explain why you don’t see reviews by the main US critics – no free samples.

FYI, The Wine Society in the UK features Barou’s wines, which is high praise. The Society is very good at spotting excellent wines that are also good value.

Thanks for the heads up on K&L – Looks like they got 5 cases the VdP last year, which are long gone.

I wonder why they use the non typical bottle shape.

I had an off-dry Rhone white from Texier once that was in a German bottle. I don’t know what other precedent there is.

I just finished a bottle of the 2015 Barou ‘la Bonne etoile’ Viognier [VdP Collines Rhodaniennes] over the last few days. It is a good bottle of 100% viognier, lots of typicity, very fully bodied and flavorful/interesting. However it does not have the fine cut that I remember from their Condreiu AOC bottling. This is one of those cases were I think the pricier bottling is worth the premium. I’d give this a B and would repurchase occasionally, if it was convenient.

I opened a 2013 Barou [Condrieu] tonight to go with take out Thai food. Compared to the 2014 (sampled at age 3) vs. this 2013 at age 6 this doesn’t have the same verve nor freshness. It might also have been a fuller bodied vintage. Lots of floral, cut persimmon notes here - a palate of lychee notes but a syrupy heavier feel to it. I suspect the vintage differences are only half the story here and its just the accelerated aging that seems to afflict viognier driven wines. I’d give this a B grade.

It’s the ‘Opale’ which is modeled after a German Kabinett stylistically, hence also the bottle shape I believe. Some other producers use this bottle as well, I think it is just about personal preference.