Winemaker, Marc Barriot, has discovered a completely new flavor in wine – one that gives the impression of cassis pastry, tons of texture in the mouth, with a burst of citrusy lime leaf. This is a story of pragmatic winemaking with a touch of happy accident. Barriot is a savant at crafting white wines, and they were in such demand that he needed to make more. Much of the vineyards were planted to red grapes – as is typical in Southern France – so Barriot began experimenting with a ‘blanc de noirs’ which translates to ‘white from red’. This practice is typical in Champagne, where red grapes are harvested to make sparkling white wines, but is not common elsewhere. After some experimentation, Barriot realized that in a warm region, like Southern France, his red grapes were perfect for making white wine, if picked a bit early to maintain their tartness.
There is a sweet and sour opportunity here, playing on the red fruit character of the wine, plus the bright acidity because it was picked young. Think pork chop with apples (or really any fruit will do), fresh salads with fruit and goat cheese, mango lime salsa on grilled fish or chicken. It’s both the tart and the sweet that will stand up to this gorgeous conundrum of a wine.
The small estate, Clos de l’Origine, is located in the Fenollèdes hills in the southern French region of Roussillon. Winemaker Marc Barriot and his wife, Caroline, cultivate old vines of Catalan grape varieties (varieties native to Southern France and Spain) and young Syrah, using biodynamic preparations in a very natural winemaking environment. Almost no sulfur is used, everything is spontaneously fermented with natural yeast and bottled by hand.