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Chambers Street is proud to present our 13th vintage from Domaine Barou in Saint-Joseph! With importers and retailers demanding crazy prices for the acknowledged superstars of the region - which bear no relation to what the growers are paid - we are very happy to offer these delicious organic wines from the granite soils in and around Saint-Joseph at affordable prices. Marie-Agnès and Emmanuel Barou practice exemplary organic farming and superb non-interventionist winemaking - the wines are simply delicious and are among the best values you will find in the world of wine...
Also on offer today are the last three cases of the outstanding 2019 Domaine Rousset Crôzes-Hermitage "Les Picaudières." Very little of this wine makes it to the US as most is sold to private clients and restaurants in the region. There is none available from the 2020 vintage, so any lovers of the real thing in the northern Rhone should grab these before they are gone. Please cellar for 8 to 10 years before drinking...
A history, from the domain: "From 1971, Alexis BAROU, then at the head of this small polyculture-livestock farm, took the risk of opting for a total conversion to Organic Farming. In 1997, after studying viticulture-oenology in Orange and Avignon, Emmanuel, his son, took over the family torch and oriented the estate more towards arboriculture and especially viticulture. This specialization is reflected in the planting of new plots in AOC Saint-Joseph and Condrieu, and the conversion of an old building into a wine cellar, bottle storage and customer reception area."
Emmanuel, with wife Marie-Agnès, currently have about 3 hectares in Saint-Joseph, 1 hectare in Condrieu and 6 hectares of Vin de Pays in Charnas from which they produce elegant, unforced traditional wines - along with delicious organic cherries and apricots. Their farming is exemplary, using their own compost, keeping the soil covered, plowing as little as possible and avoiding even the organic treatments against mildew, as they can harm soil fauna. The Saint-Joseph parcels are in Limony, on de-composed granite, and Charnas, on stone covered firm granite. "This is a name to watch" says Livingstone-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône," "the domaine is emerging as a sound address for carefully made, natural wines."
The 2021s at Domaine Barou are particularly delicious showing lower alcohol and more refreshing acidity than in the previous three vintages. The 2021 Syrah "Cuvée Vernes" is particularly beautiful in this vintage, showing beautifully pure, vibrant red and black fruits, as does the more structured and age-worthy Saint-Joseph "Un Autre Monde."
The Barou Marsanne "Rendez-Vous' is a gorgeous wine in every vintage and is especially tasty and well-balanced in 2021 - take a break from Sauvignon, Chenin, Riesling and Chardonnay and make this lovely Marsanne your house wine! And for those of you who like some Roussanne with your Marsanne, the 2021 Saint-Joseph Blanc "Le Sud" is a more serious and fuller bodied wine of gastronomy to drink over the next 4 to 5 years...
Wines arrive Friday Auust 5th, normal case discounts apply
From 40 year-old Syrah vines in Charnay, just outside the Saint-Joseph AOC, on living soils tended organically for forty years by Marie-Agnès and Emmanuel Barou. Plowing by tractor or weeding by hand on the steep slopes. Hand-harvested, wild-yeast fermentations, aging one year in 4 to 5 year-old barrels. 2021 was a vintage of very low yields in the northern Rhone, which did not escape the frost, mildew and rain which occured in most of France. While the wines are less alcoholic and tannic there are some notable successes - particularly at Domaine Barou which has again produced a superb Syrah "Cuvée des Vernes!" The wine shows deep black/purple color with lush aromas of blackberry and raspberry liqueur, blueberry, spice and bacon fat with cool minty notes - really lovely! The palate shows cool dense black fruits, wonderfully round and full, vibrant and bright with black fruits, minerals, blueberry, earth, smoke and citrus with a beautiful, refreshing, sappy sweet finish of minerals and fruit. As always with the Cuvée Vernes, this is an outstanding Syrah, nicely balanced at 12.5% alcohol, and simply delicious for current drinking. Serve a bit cool with almost anything from roast chicken to pork, rabbit, charcuterie and lamb, or just enjoy by itself. Case quantities are available. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin soils of decomposed granite over the bedrock. Shallow plowing ("griffage") is done in the summer, with rye and clover growing between the rows in winter. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is in one to three year-old barrels. The 2021 Saint-Joseph shows a deep black/red color and gorgeous aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with violet, sweet spice, citrus and roast meat, very floral and bright, showing less alcohol than the previous three vintages. Ripe black fruits, which are velvety and bright, earth, pepper and citrus continue on the very lush, supple palate which is framed in perfect, bright acidity. Lighter than the 2020 for sure, at 13% alcohol, but with more purity of fruit and a lovely creamy sapid texture. The finish is soft and long with mineral flavors and beautiful black fruits, dark chocolate and spice that lingers... This is absolutely delicious now but has the structure to age nicely for five to ten years. A sensational value and highly recommended!
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2021 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. This needs a few minutes to open up, then shows bright aromas of pear and peach, almond, lime-flower, lemon peel, smoke and hay, really quite pretty, and a little fresher than the 2020 at 13% alcohol. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with refreshing acidity. Beautiful finish with white and yellow fruits and minerals. Serve this lovely wine as a superb aperitif or with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
(Arrives Wed 9/21) The beautiful 2021 Barou Saint-Joseph Blanc is 50 % Marsanne, 50% Roussanne grown on decomposed granite soils at the top of the slope in Charnas (Saint-Joseph), overlooking the Rhone. There is a "macération pelliculaire" of 10 to 12 hours followed by fermentation in barrique at low temperature. The wine ages for 9 months in barriques, 10% new. The wine shows a bright golden color and pretty floral aromas with peach, pear, hazelnut and honey. The palate is round and supple but with nice brightness in 2021 with peach, almond and mineral notes and a long ripe smoothly textured finish. Serve with asparagus, seared scallops, trout, white meats and Asian foods.
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crôzes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure and now tended by Stéphane Rousset. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, new to 5 year-old." In the Northern Rhône, this ranks near the top for bang to buck consistently and for terroir expression. The 2019 Crôzes-Hermitage Picaudières has a densely layered nose and palate: a quick decant reveals brambly aromas of hedge fruit (wild blackberry, blackberry, and huckleberry), pomegranate seed, and a bit of pencil lead, game, and crushed violets. The palate is similarly layered and concentrated—not extracted—boasting black fruit, Telicherry peppercorn notes, and black tea flavors astride a deeply-pitched and mouth-wateringly tangy mineral core. The prominent (and ripe) tannins that lurk beneath all that dark fruit indicate a long and bright future for those who have the patience to cellar this beauty. Lovely with a decant, but the balance is here for 15 -20 years in the cellar and beyond. Highly recommended! John McIlwain