TN: Lock, Stock & Barral...

Tonight we had the 2005 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres. Intense, deep nose, crossing wild, warm blackberry bushes with rare meat, bacon, spice, black pepper, mushroom, and a bit of bottle sweetness too. Lightly bottle sweet blackberry fruit on the palate, but it’s wild and firm…not jammy and Zin-like, with a strong meaty/bacon note, along with gravel, mushroom, black pepper, smoke, and a long, warm, earthy finish. Still a bit of grip, but in a delicious spot right now. I wish I had more, as this might be a little more bottle-sweet and at peak in 2-3 years, but it’s also delicious now. If August Clape would have grown up in Faugeres he could have made this. Great with a prime rib eye, but would be even better with Didier’s homemade boar pate. Approx…92-94.

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Tonight it was the the 2007 Leon Barral, Faugeres. A juicy nose of sweet raspberry fruit, kirsch, blood/meat, black pepper, garrigue, spice, and earth. Wonderful on the palate, with enough deep raspberry fruit to satisfy a Zin drinker yet there’s so much more and the rest veers towards a wild Cornas…meat, black pepper, blood/iron, smoke, earth, menthol, and anise. Another last bottle…I wish I had a case of this to follow over the next 15 years. It’s delicious now, just starting to get the complexity and supple texture that it will probably have in spades in another 5-10 years. I love these wines and didn’t buy enough back in the day when I sold them. Amazing with a grilled hangar. Approx…93-94.

Marshall, it is difficult to capture all of a Didier Barral wine in a tasting note, but you have done a very fine job. His Faugeres, Faugeres Jadis and Faugeres Valiniere are all deliciously rich, complex, savory wines. He was a pioneer in organic/biodynamic practices in France, so it is somewhat surprising that his wines remain under the radar.

Does Faugeres follow the vintage / weather patterns of the SoRho? I had read Rosemary George’s book on the AOC but don’t remember it well. It seemed so strange that someone would write about such an obscure village.

Not really, weather is more “stable” year in year out and I dare say it’s likely cooler in most parts of Faugères than say Chateauneuf.

Barral’s wines are amongst the best (imo) in southern France when they’re on, unfortunately for me my kitchen sink has drunk more bottles than I have so I’ve stopped buying them.