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2018 Faugères “Valinière”

Domaine Leon Barral
Discount Eligible $90.00
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From the schist slopes of Faugères, here is an altogether different take on Mourvèdre (the blend also contains 20% Syrah from cooler, north-facing vineyards). It takes the proverbial “iron fist in a velvet glove” to the next level: you can practically taste the iron! Coating this brawny, almost bloody core is a luscious layer of inky-black fruit, flecked with spice and minerals. A brilliant viticulturist who lives entirely off his land, Didier Barral is an idol to sustainable farmers across France and beyond; his Valinière is a monumental demonstration of what happens when respectfully working the earth is not just a job, but one’s whole life.

Anthony Lynch


Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2018
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 80% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah
Appellation: Faugères
Country: France
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
Producer: Domaine Leon Barral
Winemaker: Didier Barral
Vineyard: 15 to 30 years, 4.3 ha
Soil: Schist
Aging: Aged for 24 to 26 months in barrel (10% new oak)
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14%

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About The Region

Languedoc-Roussillon

map of Languedoc-Roussillon

Ask wine drinkers around the world, and the word “Languedoc” is sure to elicit mixed reactions. On the one hand, the region is still strongly tied to its past as a producer of cheap, insipid bulk wine in the eyes of many consumers. On the other hand, it is the source of countless great values providing affordable everyday pleasure, with an increasing number of higher-end wines capable of rivaling the best from other parts of France.

While there’s no denying the Languedoc’s checkered history, the last two decades have seen a noticeable shift to fine wine, with an emphasis on terroir. Ambitious growers have sought out vineyard sites with poor, well draining soils in hilly zones, curbed back on irrigation and the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and looked to balance traditional production methods with technological advancements to craft wines with elegance, balance, and a clear sense of place. Today, the overall quality and variety of wines being made in the Languedoc is as high as ever.

Shaped like a crescent hugging the Mediterranean coast, the region boasts an enormous variety of soil types and microclimates depending on elevation, exposition, and relative distance from the coastline and the cooler foothills farther inland. While the warm Mediterranean climate is conducive to the production of reds, there are world-class whites and rosés to be found as well, along with stunning dessert wines revered by connoisseurs for centuries.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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