Andrew Guard

2014 Faugères 'Valinière', Leon Barral

Valinière is produced mostly from very old vine Mourvèdre, a vine that loves the southern sun. It is potent and decadent with real old vine concentration. It's a regal wine that will live and turn for many many years in the cellar. This wine reminds me very much stylistically of the wines of the great Gerard Chave of Hermitage. It's been called "the Chambertin of the South" by noted author Jacqueline Friedrich – a great old bottle of this will bring you to your knees. 

Didier Barral has 25-hectares of biodynamically-farmed vineyards on slightly acid schist soils in which a little of everything grows. Everything starts from the soil which must be made as healthy as possible.

Dider Barral produces some of the most compelling wines in France in my opinion. It all starts in the vineyard where the health of the soil and its elemants and the creatures that live within it are encouraged to thrive. There are also 30 cows that live in the vines, 1 for each hectare! The result is low yeilds of incredible fruit and wines that practically make themselves with Didier's steady hand gently guiding them along. This is estate practices observation rather than intervation and it's powerful, rustic wines need to be tasted to be understood. This estate is now regarded as one of the “greats” in the Languedoc.