Louis Barruol is an indefatigable force in the Rhône. He is the fourteenth generation in his family to be making wine in this sixteenth-century domaine in Gigondas. On what was once the site of a Roman villa, Louis’ cellars show spectacular remains of old, Roman vinification vats carved into the limestone. Here, Louis works with different grape varietals from the Rhône, vinifying each parcel separately. He has recently taken to acting as a micro-négociant, working closely with top growers in the northern part of the region who still work with Sérine, an ancient version of Syrah.
Producing only a few precious barrels of each cuvée, Louis is helping to save the authenticity and the identity of many great old Côte Rôtie parcels, and now those of Hermitage and Crozes, by keeping them out of the hands of the large, corporate négociants in the area. Together, he and Kermit blend our Northern Rhône wines and a Southern Côtes du Rhône Blanc and Rouge, from a selection of Louis’ purchases. Louis selects the best parcels he can find, and then Kermit shows up and either has a cuvée bottled unfiltered, or he blends to find the assemblage that satisfies his esthetic criteria.