Chateau Barouillet Bergecrac Blanc Sec 2020

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Bergerac, South West France
Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon, Chenin Blanc
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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Great value wine for the table that ticks all the boxes in terms of viticulture and vinification - an expressive blend of white grapes that mutes the overtly 'Sauvignon-y' characteristics by not picking too early and not using any sulphur dioxide on the vines prior to fermentation. It's an interesting, unusual wine that doesn't correspond with its mixture of varietals in the traditional sense. There is a lightly oxidative note and a bready, lees-y back palate that bounces off the fruit which is at once fresh and zesty and creamy and opulent. It's always great to find wine like this around the £16 mark. Easy, fun and just a little bit wild. 

Vincent is an eighth-generation winemaker; joining his father in 2010, when he started the organic "project" at Barouillet - bottling their own wines rather than selling the grapes for bulk-blending. Organic conversion started with 6 hectares and since 2013 the entire estate has been organic. Forty percent of their production is sweet, with the rest a mix of red and dry white. They have 14 grape varieties planted and Vincent intends to keep re-planting old varieties until he is the first in the area to have all traditional permitted varieties. 

The estate is split over three areas: Pomport, where the cellar is located – this is one of the highest plots in the area at ~180m; Pechament – 15km away, the top red "cru" of Bergerac and the only all-red appellation, where they have 6 hectares of Merlot, Cabernet France and Cabernet Sauvignon; and 12 hectares at Mescoules, 4km away from the cellar. In Pomport and Mescoules there is 10-40cm of clay topsoil and then limestone. Clay is good for hot weather due to water retention, and acidity in the wines is helped by the limestone. In Bergerac you need to work hard to keep acidity in the wines due to the warm, dry climate. In Pecharment soil is a mix of red clay, iron and silex. The flint rocks in the soil retain heat which helps the maturation of the grapes. The area is cooler than the rest of Bergerac and has more rain, therefore the harvest is later and the fruit is riper.