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the wines of Domaine du Baruel, Vin de Pays de CevennesLa Vigneronne, Thursday 25th May, with owner
A great chance to taste a remarkable line up of wines from this superb 12 Ha domaine in the picturesque Cevennes in the South of France. The wines were eventually presented by the owner, Rainer Pfefferkorn, who arrived rather late and then left a few minutes later! [Aside: he drives a vintage Bentley, and is an aviation enthusiast -- apparently, there is a landing strip between the vines at the Domaine.] His first vintage was in 1989, and his last release is the 1998, because he has now sold the property as it was proving too difficult to maintain. However, Rainer is not giving up altogether: he has purchased a new property and plans to plant 2 Ha of Syrah and 1 Ha of Rousanne to begin with.
The Baruel domaine is planted with Cabernet and Syrah; the average vine age is 20 years, and yields are very low at 20 hl/Ha. Because the wines are non-AOC, Rainer has been more or less free to do his own thing. He has produced two cuvées, the regular one (a blend of Syrah and Cabernet) and the cuvée Fontanilles, a varietal Syrah. With the exception of the first vintage, 1989, Rainer has shunned the use of new oak, instead fermenting and maturing the wines in 3000 litre barrels. Annual production is in the region of 2000 cases. All the wines have great concentration and intensity, with a characteristic earthy, dusty structure and firm dry tannins. Having said this, there is pronounced vintage variation. These wines also seem to last forever: all of these wines, with the possible exception of the 1997, are still youthful and tannic and show no signs of imminent decline. Overall, I was most impressed with the 1996 vintage, and the Fontanilles seemed to have the edge on the regular cuvée. All of these wines represent great value for money (all priced between £9 and £12).
1997 Domaine du Baruel Cuvée Fontanilles
1997 Domaine du Baruel
1996 Domaine du Baruel Cuvée Fontanilles
1996 Domaine du Baruel
1995 Domaine du Baruel
1989 Domaine du Baruel
1998 Domaine du Baruel Cuvée Fontanilles
1998 Domaine du Baruel