The Story


The Languedoc appellation is the largest producer of organic wines in France, with Didier Barral at the forefront of this agricultural revolution. His family have been making wines in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric Faugères for 13 generations, but since the early 90s, Didier has pioneered sustainable winemaking practices. Today he is known for making some of the finest wines in the south of France through his uncompromising and enduring commitment to creating a rich and balanced biotope.

Everything is done to promote life, and the permeability of the soil and the wines obtained are worthy of the efforts undertaken. Didier makes three red cuvées and one white – each of them carrying a signature freshness and acidity which is achieved through meticulous care for the soil.

Watch Didier Barral talk about his approach to sustainability here.  

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The People


Didier 

Didier’s passion for working with nature shows no bounds. His team; a herd of cows who pre-prune the vines by eating the upper part of the shoots, black pigs, horses, and bats. Didier is not short of ideas when finding natural ways to make wine. From planting 8,000 trees of 30 different varieties around the vines to building bat nesting boxes in the surrounding hedges – to offer a refuge for these important allies who eat the insects that attack the vine. Each of them working together to fulfil complementary roles.

“The key is to achieve balance in the wine and harmony in the vineyard. The more diverse and varied flora and fauna; the less fragile the balance will be”.

This approach has earned Didier much respect and his wines such renown as was recognised by France’s Agricultural minister but Didier does not seek recognition.

“I simply want to produce wines that are pleasant to drink and digest, to make my olive oil and flour, and to be in harmony with my animals. I refuse to enter into a logic of immediate profitability”.

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The Place


France, Languedoc

Domaine Leon Barral covers 35 hectares of schist soils between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Garrigue forest - sheltering the fauna and flora to create perfect conditions for great terroir.

A perfectionist in the vineyard, Didier chooses to work without copper. And in the cellar without sulphur. Fermentation is done with wild yeasts, punch-down is done by hand, followed by long macerations, and ageing in wood, cement tanks and stainless steel. Each grape variety is vinified separately, and the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

"To make interesting wine in these conditions, you need soils that are both permeable, aerated and capable of better retaining water."

Location

Wines by Domaine Leon Barral 

 

Photography David Puech