M. Denis Barbara

Saint-Pourcain

8.5 ha

The appellation of Saint-Pourçain is situated in the center of France, in the Allier department and is considered part of the Centre-Loire.This region is better known to wine professionals for its forests of prized oak trees used in barrel production than for its wines. The appellation, ranging approximately 5 kilometers in width and 30 kilometers in length, spreads throughout 19 communes with vineyards planted on a series of hillsides to the west of the Allier River. The history of vineyards in this area dates back to before the Romans, when the Phoenicians settled here and planted vines. In fact, they claimed to have civilized the barbarians with wine. During the 13th and 14th centuries the wines of Saint-Pourçain were highly esteemed. They traveled up to Paris via the Allier and Loire rivers and were favored by Popes, royalty and the aristocracy alike. By the end of the 18th century the vineyards of Saint-Pourçain covered more than 8,000 hectares. Today the vineyards total 600 hectares. The appellation received AOC status in 2009.

 

Denis Barbara farms several separate parcels of land totaling 8 hectares. Two thirds of his production is in red wine. He works alone except for the harvest and does much of the vineyard work by hand. He keeps his yields very low by bud pruning “ebourgeonnage” in the spring and green harvesting in the summer after “veraison”. He cultivates grasses between all the rows and does not use insecticides, pesticides or chemical fertilizer in his vineyards. All of his wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts.

 

Saint-Pourçain Blanc “Vin D’Alon”

Chardonnay 1.2 hectares / Tressallier .4 hectares

The “lieu-dit” Vin D’Alon is a derivation of the word “vallon” and is a vineyard whose reputation was established in the time of Henry IV. The distinguishing local grape variety is the Sacy, known in Saint-Pourçain as Tressallier. The variety is associated with the Yonne where it was at one time widely planted and rivaled the Chardonnay grape. Interestingly, historical references mention that the Sacy grape produced far better results in Saint-Pourçain than elsewhere. As in the Yonne, the Tressallier has been eclipsed in Saint-Pourçain by Chardonnay and today, only 53 hectares of Tressallier remain. Denis Barbara produces his “Vin D’Alon” cuvée from a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Tressallier. The Tressallier vines, which are naturally quite productive, are pruned to 7 or 8 bunches per vine and yield an average of 30h per hectare. Fermentation of both varietals is carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats at very low temperatures. All the wines remain on their lees until the blending and bottling is done in the spring.

 

Saint-Pourçain Rouge “Chambre D’Edouard”

M. Barbara grows both Gamay and Pinot Noir, according to the mandate of the Saint-Pourcain AOC regulations. However, not liking the results of blending these two varieties, he produces a separate wine from each variety. His Pinot Noir is called “Chambre D’Edouard”, a reference to his friend Edouard who once spent a night in the empty fermentation tank. The cuvée “Chambre D’Edouard” is produced from two parcels, both located just south of the village of Saint Pourçain; “Montord”, which has a very chalky soil, and “La Burelle” which has a richer clay/limestone soil. Denis harvests as late as possible, sometimes a month after his neighbors. After harvest, the Pinot Noir grapes are destemmed and rest in a chilled tank for up to 8 days. This type of pre-fermentation maceration is often seen in the production of white wines and allows Denis to have a slow start to the fermentation. Once the tanks warm up and fermentation begins, the maceration continues for about thirty days with very gentle methods of extraction being employed daily. The prolonged maceration enriches the wine and creates a somewhat reductive state. M. Barbara is employing techniques designed to bring out in his wine the fresh fruit characteristics of his grapes. Total SO2 is 25mg/L.

 

VDF Blanc « Quarteron”

Chardonnay / Tressallier  1 hectare

The “lieu-dit” Quarteron” is associated with the land on which Denis and Monique live and where the winery is located. It was recently planted by Denis and a wide circle of friends most of whom not only helped prepare the land but also invested a small sum of money to pay for the plants a derivation of the word “vallon” and is a vineyard whose reputation was established in the time of Henry IV. The distinguishing local grape variety is the Sacy, known in Saint-Pourçain as Tressallier. The variety is associated with the Yonne where it was at one time widely planted and rivaled the Chardonnay grape. Interestingly, historical references mention that the Sacy grape produced far better results in Saint-Pourçain than elsewhere. As in the Yonne, the Tressallier has been eclipsed in Saint-Pourçain by Chardonnay and today, only 53 hectares of Tressallier remain. Denis Barbara produces his “Quarteron” cuvée from a blend of 80% Chardonnay, 15% Tressallier and 5% Sauvignon. The Tressallier vines, which are naturally quite productive, are pruned to 7 or 8 bunches per vine and yield an average of 30h per hectare. Fermentation and maturation is carried out is barrel. All of the wines remain on their lees until blending and bottling in the spring.

 

Vintage Brut 0

Denis first produced a sparkling wine from Gamay in 2010 by harvesting earlyand gently pressing the grapes to obtain a Blanc de Noir. The juice was fermented in stainless steel and after the “prise de mousse” rested four years “sur lattes” before disgorgement. The sparkling wine was finished without a dosage. – thus the name Brut 0.

 

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