2016 Chateau Barrejat Tradition Madiran
It’s not hyperbole to say that this may be the single greatest value in our entire selection of French reds. Remaining somewhat in the shadow of the more famous Madiran estate Domaine Boucassé, Denis Capmartin’s 27 hectare property known as Chateau Barrejat lies just outside the small commune of Maumusson on a site that is known to have been producing wines dating back to Roman times. But by far its most important historical attributes relate directly to the Great French Wine Blight of the mid-19th century.
For reasons that are fairly uncertain, the Tannat vines of southwest France were largely unaffected by the phylloxera aphid that destroyed virtually every vineyard in the country between 1850 and 1870. Though Barrejat’s vineyards are an average of 40 years old, they are the direct descendants of the pre-phylloxera survivors from the prior century.
The modern-day Capmartin estate is covered in a diverse series of alluvial soils ranging from sandy clay to rocky gravel, ideally suited to creating wines of freshness, aromatic complexity and finesse. Tannat is an unusually tannic grape (as the name certainly implies) and consequently it is only required to comprise 60% of the final blend in Madiran, the balance of which is filled by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Fermentation at Barrejat is done in a combination of cement, fiberglass and steel before being racked to neutral French oak foudre for aging. The nose displays black currant, red plum, dried herb, dark chocolate and roasted meat character while offering a fresh attack, ripe tannins and a subtle complexity across the palate that is rarely found in a wine at this price point.
This unique combination of flavor and tannin profile make it an ideal companion for both Mediterranean cuisine and simple preparations of game meats; think Basque-style ratatouille, spicy sausages or lamb. Barrejat’s super-value wines continue to be very popular with fans of both Bordeaux and the Languedoc. - Jordan Wardlaw, Import Wine Specialist
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