Andrew Guard

2016 Vin de Pays de l’Herault Blanc, Leon Barral

This amazing wine is produced almost entirely from Terret Blanc and Gris with a little Viognier and Roussanne. Its production goes against every conventional grain. The grapes are first pressed in the same century-old, vertical, wooden basket press that Barral uses for his red wines. This gentle pressing goes on for the better part of a day, during which time the wine is left exposed to the air without any sulfur, dry ice, nitrogen or other inert gas, or even a cover to protect it. After six or eight months in a concrete tank, the wine is aged on the fine lees for 10-12 months in well-used barrels. The result is an extraordinary white wine that has a delicious citrus-fruit, almond and peach-skin nose, a harmonious mouth of peaches, apricots, herbs, and an electric minerality.

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.