Exploring Costières de Nîmes (5) Château Font-Barrièle

Website: https://chateaufontbarriele.fr/

Not all winery visits go as planned. I was on my way to meet with Christian and Caroline Goujon of Domaine Font Barrièle when I had a blow out on my rental car. I found a small carpark and pulled in, then went to change the tyre. Unfortunately, the modern way for rental cars is for them not to have a spare tyre at all, so I had to call the hire company and arrange a tow to a nearby garage (it turns out that the car was out of action for 3 days just for one puncture). So I was stuck waiting. I called up Christian and Caroline, and suggested that maybe we do the tasting in the car park because it would be a shame to miss the appointment altogether, and fortunately they were game. And once the car was collected I went off with them to see the vineyards and winery, and still made it to the final appointment of the day.

Christian’s family has a vineyard background, but they never made their own wine. Christian had been working for 20 years in the cooperative at Jonquières until in 2012, with the help of his father, he took back the family vineyards and began restructuring them, launching Font Barrièle. Caroline had been working as a consultant enologist to organic and biodynamic wineries, and she joined the project in 2017. They’ve very recently consolidated all their activities into just one winery, which they purchased last year, and the vineyards have expanded to 70 hectares, half in Costières de Nîmes and half in Côtes du Rhône. ‘This is the beginning for us,’ says Caroline.

They farm biodynamically, and work with two consultancies. Agroof helps them with their agroforestry work, and Cogard give them assistance to make their vineyards more bird friendly.


Messange Gardien! Blanc 2021 Vin de France
This is a series of three wines that are quite playful, and the label is on special paper so the bottles can be re-used rather than recycled. 80% Vermentino and 20% Viognier. Nice fresh texture with fine spicy notes and a twist of mineral. Lovely fruit here. 90/100

Y’a Pas D’Lezard! Rosé 2022 Vin de France
Fresh, dry and supple with nice sweet cherry and raspberry, as well as some citrus. Very expressive with some sappy detail. 89/100

Chauve Qui Peut! Rouge 2021 Vin de France
14.5% alcohol. Supple and fruity with nice raspberry and cherry fruit. A rounded style with some olive notes and meaty hints. Ripe and expressive with lovely density, with a liqourice twist. 91/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle L’Essential est Invisible Pour Les Yeux Blanc 2021 Côtes du Rhône
Supple, fresh and textured with nice fine spicy notes as well as pear, white peach and some yellow plum notes with a fresh citrus finish. 91/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Origines Blanc 2019 Costières de Nîmes
Fermented in French oak, this is a varietal Roussanne. Has some yellow to the colour. Finely spiced nose with lovely citrus and pear fruit with fine spiciness, good citrus and some mandarin with a hint of honey and apple. Lovely precision here. 92/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Origines Blanc 2021 Costières de Nîmes
Barrel-fermented Roussanne. Spicy and intense with a hint of mint. Nice wood integration with almond and cinnamon notes as well as the fruit. Has some grainy structure. 93/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Vignes d’Héloïse Blanc 2022 Costières de Nîmes
80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc. Very bright primary fruit here with pear, citrus and a touch of white peach. Supple and textural with nice freshness. 92/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Vignes d’Héloïse Rosé 2022 Costières de Nîmes
Cinsault, Grenache, Vermentino and Syrah co-fermented. Fine and expressive with nice juicy cherry fruit, with some pear and spice. Refined and textured. 92/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Vignes d’Héloïse Rouge 2019 Costières de Nîmes
Wonderfully aromatic with olive, pepper, black cherry and blackberry fruit. So floral, with an inviting aroma. Supple, fresh and fine in the mouth with sweet tannins, nice structure and good focus. 94/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Vignes d’Héloïse Rouge 2021 Costières de Nîmes
60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Marselan. Supple, fresh and aromatic with some dried herbs, pepper and spice, with a hint of reduction. Compact with lovely purity to the fruit as well as some pepper and olive tapenade characters alongside the cherry fruit. Lots of potential here. 94/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle L’Essential est Invisible Pour Les Yeux Rouge 2021 Côtes du Rhône
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah. This is the first vintage certified biodynamic. Lively, textural and fresh with lovely pepper and dried herbs as well as focused cherry and plum fruit with a bit of grip. Nice presence here, showing supple red and black fruits. 94/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Savoir Lire Entre Les Vignes Rouge 2021 Côtes du Rhône Villages
90% Grenache, 10% Syrah. Supple, fresh and fleshy with perfumed raspberry and strawberry fruit, as well as some peppery notes. Juicy and refined, and showing good definition. 94/100

Domaine Fonte Barrièle Les Origines Rouge 2019 Costières de Nîmes
80% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 14 months in barrel, one-third new. Opulent. Fresh but ripe with some spicy oak complementing the sweet, seductive blackberry and cherry fruit. Nice depth and weight. Plenty of oak evident, but it’s classy. 92/100