2008 Domaine la Barroche Chateauneuf-du-Pape Terroir
To the collector cognoscenti, the story is already folklore. In 2003, Julien Barrot, only in his mid-20s, returned to his family's jewel of an estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. For decades, the Barrots had been selling fruit to the likes of Guigal and Chapoutier. There are few secrets in Chateauneuf, particularly when it comes to the value of certain parcels and the way they're farmed. The Barrot grapes -- particularly a century old parcel up near Rayas -- were as good as it gets, so the negociants paid top dollar, smiling all the way to the bank.
But, everyone knew what would happen when Julien came home. Spend a few hours with this incredibly engaging winegrower, with his broad smile, infectious laugh, and intense determination, and you would know that Guigal wouldn't be getting Barrot grapes for much longer.
And so it began, the rare kind of storybook beginning that reads like the early days of Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. We discovered Julien's 2004s at a tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. There was a certain je ne sais quoi about these wines that just set them apart from the rest (125 wines in all!). The best way to describe it? These Chateauneufs had the benchmark warmth and volume of the appellation, but also incredible aromatic complexity, a sort of Grand Cru Burgundian take on Chateauneuf.
The scores followed. The wine that eventually swept the wine world off its feet is called "Pure," a century old Grenache bottling drawn from that parcel next to Rayas. The 2007 was rated 99+ by Robert Parker. The 2005, a perfect 100. But, ok, it stood to reason that this incredibly talented wunderkind would blow the world away in the warm 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages. But what of 2008, a more challenging harvest, where the pedestrian winegrowers suffered while the cream of Chateauneuf strutted their stuff? Julien Barrot did what you would expect of the most talked about young winegrower of the appellation.
In 2008, Julien Barrot dropped crop aggressively, bringing in 40% less than he had in 2007. He didn't bottle "Pure" separately, instead taking arguably the most sensational Grenache on the planet, and declassifying it. Nor did he make "Fiancee", the super-charged Grenache and Syrah, grown in Terre Blanche and Cabrieres. He put both into the master blends.
By harvesting just 1 ton of fruit per acre, dropping fruit, 'living in his vines,' Barrot coaxed optimal ripeness out of each berry. By the end, Julien was ecstatic and couldn't understand the chagrin of some of his neighbors. "I didn't understand what the others were saying. I didn't have much fruit, c'est vrai, but what I had was perfect."
Domaine la Barroche
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Beautiful ruby color to the edge. Bright, vibrant, bowl-of-red-fruit nose with fine aromatic penetration. Delicate, crushed red fruit flavors, tinged with herbs and spice. Wonderful red fruit elegance a la Vosne. Fine acid backbone, with excellent lift. This is a delicious, refreshing Burgundian-styled 2008 that you can drink by the bucketful. Drink now-2015."