Côtes-du-Rhône, Southern Rhône, France
Matthieu Barret of Domaine du Coulet also works with trusted growers who share similar viticultural and winemaking principles to produce a range of négociant wines from the Northern and Southern Rhône. The concept is light-hearted, as reflected by the joyful bear on the label (“a self-portrait” jokes the short and stocky Barret), with wines intended to be more approachable in their youth. The ‘Petit Ours’ Côtes-du-Rhône, meaning ‘little bear’, is 100% Syrah sourced from vineyards planted on clay and gravel soils surrounding the village of Visan, next to Vinsobres. The north-facing vineyards are all farmed organically and worked using biodynamic methods, in keeping with Matthieu’s philosophy.
The grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed before fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats for around 15 days. The wine is then lightly pressed and aged for approximately eight months in concrete vats to preserve freshness and purity of fruit. The wine has a very expressive nose with layers of blackberry and black cherry fruit. The palate has smooth and well-integrated tannins with juicy black fruit and a touch of black pepper on the finish.
We have added two wines from Matthieu Barret to our list this year. The Petit Ours Blanc is blend of 90% Roussanne and 10% Viognier, which are organically and biodynamically farmed and planted at an altitude of 420 metres, bringing freshness to the finished wine. It is very expressive with notes of stone fruits and white flowers, excellently balanced on the palate with refreshing acidity. The Crozes-Hermitage ‘La Banniere’ comes from vineyards which are situated in the old Rhône terrace called `Les Chassis` around the village of Beaumont-Monteux. Fermented in concrete using 50% whole bunch, the resulting wine has aromas of fresh blackberries, crushed black pepper and a subtle smokiness. The palate is elegant and fresh with flavours of red and black berries and smooth, round tannins.