2019 Clos de la Barthassade, Les Gravettes, Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc-Roussillon, France.
New to me, the Clos de la Barthassade wines, made by Guillaume and Helene Baron, are getting a lot of attention and I wanted to give them a try, especially this Les Gravettes red blend of organically grown Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, which impressed me with its deep perfume and complexity of flavors. Made using a combination of concrete eggs, temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks and old barrels in the cellar the Baron’s wines are precise and textural, they ferment each lot separately with native yeasts and the wines are moved only by gravity flow, as to be as gentle as possible. It should be stated, great talent spotters, Martine’s Wines, known for finding rare gems, is the exclusive importer for Clos de la Barthassade for the United States market and done fabulous job of creating a buzz for this tiny production label, while still offering them at reasonable prices. The generally red soils here have a mix of shale or calcareous clay which have an overlay of pebbles. The climate here is Mediterranean with lots of sunny days and the wines here have a ripe warmth to them. This Les Gravettes is exciting stuff, it’s made with lots of whole cluster, its ripe and inky in the glass, but full of energy and a contrasting savory crunch, with crushed violets, wild herbs, graphite and cassis on the nose in a full bodied almost Gigondas like wine, reminding me somewhat of Chateau de Saint Cosme. In the mouth there’s loads of hedonism with dark berries, damson plum, kirsch and coulis with earthy and peppery accents as well as dried lavender, sage, cinnamon and briar notes. This wine way over performs at the price and I am really excited to try the Baron’s other bottlings, the “Pur C” a single varietal Cinsault and the K Libre, the 100% Carignan!
The husband and wife team of Guillaume and Helene Baron both graduated from their viticultural studies and then put their time in at some highly acclaimed domaines in France before seeking out their own piece of land to explore their talents, and being fresh and youthful needed to find an affordable region to settle in, which turned out to be in the wild and remote L’ Herault area of the Languedoc-Roussillon. The Winery is in the Terrasses du Larzac, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Montpellier, where the Baron’s are cultivating their unique parcels with biodynamic practices, with a focus on Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, as well as Carignan that they make into a special single varietal wine. The rugged, dry, windy lands are home to many legendary producers, like the Guilbert family’s famous Mas de Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères . The Barons acquired 25 acres of vineyards land and produced their first vintage in 2014, which has a sensation and now these Clos de la Barthassade wines are highly sought after. Guillaume notes that their Syrah and Grenache come from distinct parcels in the Combariolles zone, where he says the nights are cold and the soils are intensely rocky, producing highly perfumed, almost Côte-Rôtie-like, wines. The Baron’s Cinsault, Carignan and some smaller blocks of Grenache are grown in Montpeyroux, that they consider one of the finest terroirs, called La Barthassade, where their name comes from. Here, they note, the sun-drenched terraces vines get more moisture, along with more heat, allowing the grapes to reach perfect maturity with just the right amount of stress to provide depth and concentration. This is definitely a winery to watch and this 2019 vintage is awesome, I highly recommend this tasty Les Gravettes, it is a wine that gets better with food, so enjoy it with a meal.
($29 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive