Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2008-07-09
In Saint-Émilion, alongside the Grands Crus Classés, most of which are held by big financial groups, it is still possible to find superb vins de vignerons at perfectly affordable prices – Denis Barraud’s wines, for example.
Today the “Right Bank’s” leading vineyard, Saint-Émilion gained its fame very slowly compared to the more aristocratic appellations of the Médoc (Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Margaux). It has the characteristic of boasting very varied terroirs, which produce wines that are sometimes stylistically poles apart from each other… Geography is therefore a determining factor in ranking and distinguishing between the châteaux (the most famous ones, such as Ausone, Belair, Beauséjour Dufau-Lagarrosse and Tertre Roteboeuf, all being located on the limestone plateau at the centre of the vineyards). But there are also the men!
From this point of view, meeting Denis Barraud is an instructive experience, because this winegrower has managed, through his work and his passion, to sublimate a sandy-gravelly terroir until then considered relatively “minor”. Denis Barraud owns two vineyard estates in the south of the appellation, in the commune of Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens.
The first one, Les Gravières, stretches out over 4 ha of grassed down, drained vineyards (100% Merlot), and produces a fine unfiltered Saint-Émilion with a crimson colour and a floral nose moving towards incense and spices. Its rich, concentrated palate expresses a lovely grape that is harvested when very ripe and selected by hand. (€20 a bottle)
The second vineyard estate, Lynsolence, covers only 2.5 ha (also 100% Merlot) on a gravel terroir similar to that of the famous Château Monbousquet. With yields in the region of 20 hectolitres per hectare, this is a micro-cuvée whose unfiltered and unfined wines mature for 18 months in new “rotary” barrels. Here you can sample a Saint-Émilion that is impressive for its fruit and voluptuousness (“a fruit bomb” according to Robert Parker) but without ostentation even so! (€40)
Denis Barraud’s magnificent cellars are located in Brane, on the banks of the Dordogne, which was once used by barges to carry wine up to Bordeaux.
Château Les Gravières
Tél. : 05.57.84.54.73