Leon Barral, Faugeres Valiniere, 2014

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Leon Barral

How traditional is Domaine Leon Barral? He may be the most traditional producer Kermit Lynch imports. For starters, Didier Barral doesn’t have a cell phone. He doesn’t have email. Doesn’t have a computer. The winery—and the winemaker—are off the grid.

But more to the point, the family works like it was centuries ago. No chemicals in the (biodynamic) vineyards, though they do have ancient breeds of cattle and pig on the property--and ancient herbs and greens unknown elsewhere growing wild between the rows and in the family’s pastures and forests.

The winemaking is absolutely minimalist too: Didier adds no sulfur (nor yeast, enzymes, etc); there's a long, slow fermentation and a gentle press in an old-fashioned vertical basket-press, and then aging in concrete (Faugeres) or old wood (Jadis and Valinière).

For these reasons many consider Didier a pioneering patriarch in the world of natural wine. We're not sure if he would agree (or if he would even care) but it's easy to see why so many younger winemakers look up to him.

One important update to this ancient story: just before the 2014 vintage the winery replaced the oldest barrels and cement cuves to help "clean up" the fermentation and winemaking. The results (based on a recent tasting) are phenomenal! All of the special terroir shines through the wine without any hint of imperfections.

There aren’t many French producers like Barral and there aren’t many wines like these in the entire world: pure, hedonistic pleasure of the southern French sun with the tension of the schist soils and the depth of the old vines. And when you taste them, you’ll swear you taste some of the exotic herbs and antique olives the family grows--Barral’s own, unique garrigue--complex, delicious, profound and alive.

Professional Reviews

Robert Parker

RP 93
"A blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah, the 2014 Valiniere is a bit richer and darker-fruited than the Jadis but not otherwise more impressive. The fruit is plummy, the wine full-bodied on the palate, but it remains silky-textured and long. These were two outstanding offerings from the talented Didier Barral." -Julia Coney


  • Country


  • Region

    Languedoc & Roussillon

  • Grape Variety

    Red Blend

  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Sweetness


  • Body

    Medium Bodied