Domaine la Barroche now in its new cellar
Passing down from the north of France and after stopping off to judge in Lyon I made a quick stop to Châteauneuf-du-Pape to taste at Les Printemps as well as visit the brand new cellar of Domaine la Barroche. This was of special interest for me as my first visit to their winemaking premises was in the fall of 2014 when I went through their old cellar that Julien had dutifully been using since taking over and starting to bottle the wines in 2002.
It was a functional, yet rustic affair with old tanks and barrels that was built in to their family home. Julien had made good use of this space and garnered attention from a number of wine critics but it was quite clear that to grow meant updating their facilities and after a couple years of construction, they were finally able to move in to their new cellar for the 2015 harvest.
What I love about it is that it’s essentially a re-imagining of their old family cellar. It remains gravity fed with their fermentation tanks up top and barrels downstairs. The initial tanks are all concrete and unlined which shows tribute to Julien’s continued use of neutral aging vessels. In the barrel cellar I saw what must have been one of the old cuve from the original cellar as well.
As the weather was crap (last year at Printemps was mind-blowingly great weather) and Julien was tied-up in a tasting seminar, we tasted through the wines with his sister Laetitia who ironically I tasted with the first time I visited their winery as well. It gave a chance to see how the various vintages were affecting them as well as see what the future held–I’m very excited to try their 2014 wines for instance.
Domaine la Barroche 2013
Chocolatey and full in the nose, light mid palate with good fruit and acidity. Probably less life than other vintages but still well-formed.
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault 13.5% 29€
Domaine la Barroche 2012
Bit more stewed dark fruits, full tannic structure with more years for it. Currently a bit short but will level out with more years.
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault 14% 29€
Domaine la Barroche 2011
Red fruits, ripe cherry, graphite, sweet spice, vanilla, roasted almonds, bit of sage, black pepper. Medium plus body and acidity, alcohol, bit spicy in the finish, could still stand another 1-2 years in the bottle to fully round out as it’s a bit jubilant and excited at the moment.
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault 13.5% 29€
Herbal lushness, good acidity, balanced red fruit. Light and even on the palate. Still tight and needs more tine in the bottle but incredibly spirited and alive for such a tough vintage. Will definitely reach top-tiered levels in due course.
100% Grenache 14% 65€
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
Cave Abbé Rous - Cornet & Cie Blanc 2016 92
Peach, orange peel & blossom, honey, dried apricot, and a hint of green apple. Very nicely balance in the mouth, green apple notes more prevalent, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish. Fresh, lively, very pleasing wine to drink.
60% Grenache Gris 25% Grenache Blanc 5% Marsanne 5% Roussanne 5% Vermentino · 14.5%
Clos Henri - Petit Clos Pinot Noir 2016 92
Earthy, red cherries, young, crisp cranberry, light herbal notes, leafy, minor chalk. Medium tannins and medium plus acidity as well as length. Light sweetness on the palate but with a very pleasant, lingering structure and lightness to it.
100% Pinot Noir · 13.5% · 16.50EUR