Gilles Barge

Terraced slope of Côte-Rôtie. (pic. Euan McKay)

Gilles Barge
Northern Rhone, Ampuis
http://www.domainebarge.com
Wine Maker: Gilles Barge

Gilles Barge is a wonderfully earthy and authentic character. His Cote-Rotie’s display a firm structure with backbone, ripe spicy fruit which is backed with chewy round tannins. Given time, these features harmonise providing a wonderful perfume, velvety mouth-feel, layered earthy complexity and great persistence.

The Barge Condrieu smells like apricots, it is fresh and perfumed, with only 15% of the fruit seeing one-year-old oak for six months. The fruit weight and flavour on the palate is sublime; beautifully rich and flavorsome but oh-so elegant at the same time.

Gilles Barge is certainly one of the great sources of traditional Côte Rôtie and they are remarkably well priced when compared to his contemporary’s wines.

“This domaine gives a prime example of traditional Côte-Rôtie. The wines are very consistent. Du Plessy is more aromatic, the Côte Brune has good muscle and breeding, and ages well. The new Le Combard Côte-Rôtie fits in between. The Condrieu and Saint-Joseph contain good fruit. Son Julien is interested in the whites, and they are set to improve as a result.” John Livingston-Learmonth

“McKay imports the sensational, refined wines of Gilles Barge, whose Condrieu is an exemplar of the more elegant, perfumed, floral aspects of the viognier grape, and whose Côte-Rôties are simply marvelous. The Cuvée de Plessy is all floral, ethereal spicy fruit and remarkable intensity, while the Côte-Brune is more powerful, burly and weighty. Both are exquisite examples of pure shiraz ….” Max Allen

Wine

2009 Condrieu ‘La Solarie’
Classic Condrieu, the perfectly ripe viognier grapes delivere bright fresh apricot and kernel notes in that typical ‘Barge’ fine and floral style with low oak impact. The palate derives it richness and depth solely from the layered complexity of the fruit with its mout-watering nectarine and apricot flavors.

2009 Saint-Joseph ‘La Ribaudy
100% Marsanne, 20% of the juice sees second and third use barriques the balance was raised in tank. This is fine and vivacious with some richer comlexing creamy and pan-grille notes. The palate has a layered yet fresh detail and more interesting than most Chardonnay’s going around.

2009 Saint-Joseph ‘Clos des Martinets’
Bright cherry infused spicy black pepper notes, garrigue and funk from its lees contact. A wine with a fine and pure fruited palate with medium weight pitching fine line and length. At 12.5% alcohol it doesn’t look like a shrinking violet but it makes the high alcohol monsters look clunky.

A note about the Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie’s. These are fine, backward and traditional in every sense of the word. No/low use of new oak, 12.5-13% alcohol, reductively made and left on gross lees, they are wines which need 10 years before they even begin to un-pack, particularly the Côte-Brune.

2005 Côte-Rôtie ‘Cuvée de Plessy’
“Tight red fruits with a broad sweep in the making on the nose, that reflects spiced red jam. Very direct, live fruit on the palate, with tannins that are full of pep. The red fruits here are on the go, and need to be left until 2010. Finishes on a fresh note – needs to round out there. The tannins are quite firm on the finale. ****” John Livingston-Learmonth

2006 Côte-Rôtie ‘Cuvée de Plessy’
***** Jean-Michel Deluc, Maître Sommelier and International Wine Consultant and Président de l’Association des Sommeliers de Paris.

2007 Côte-Rôtie ‘Cuvée de Plessy’
“Has an open red fruits aroma of raspberry notably. It is holding back, has a sense of reserve about it. The palate is more on the go – delivers rounded fruit, the attack is rounded, almost sweet. It closes down on the end – this is in transition now. It gathers fine late tannins that are not firm. From mid-2011, especially to allow the finish to complete and round out. ****” John Livingston-Learmonth

2006 Côte-Rôtie, Côte-Brune
“….damson, wild strawberry aroma, some mystery, well-knit. Good mid-palate fruit strike, red plus, correct tannins to keep it going. Good core and prospects, this can emerge as stylish and charming. *****” John Livingston-Learmonth

2007 Côte-Rôtie, Côte-Brune
“The fruit is very expressive this year. A year of great charm. Its fruit is surrounded by a bit more matter than 2004. Good length. Can live for 20+ years. *****” John Livingston-Learmonth
“The outstanding 2007 Cote Rotie Cote Brune possesses a dark ruby/purple color along with an attractive bouquet of grilled herbs, scorched earth, black cherries, and black currants. Deep, medium to full-bodied, long, and robust with the distinctive earthy, leathery character of this estate well-displayed. (90-92)” Robert Parker Jnr.

Evolution of the Barge label. (pic. Euan McKay)

“Gilles Barge’s style can be fairly described as traditional. These are not big, fleshy, low acid, accessible wines in the fashionable international style. They’re wines that take a bit of getting used to, with their challenging array of savoury flavours. I guess you could call them terroir wines, although some of these flavours have as much to do with winemaking choices as they do the soil. It’s a style I enjoy and appreciate.” Jamie Goode

Sparse and steep, Côte-Rôtie. (pic. Euan McKay)