The wines Louis Barruol makes are serious, to be sure, yet deliciously refreshing, which is a trick that only a few producers anywhere in the world are able to manage consistently. I found him sitting at his desk surrounded by rugby paraphernalia. We talked about history, and geology, and family, all of which were in his mind inexorably intertwined, then set off to see the property. Soon we were climbing the hill toward a 12th-century chapel that sits beside the vineyards. I glanced up to see the Dentelles de Montmirail—the spiky limestone rocks that constitute the most recognizable geological feature of this area—looming against a sky of otherworldly Provençal blue, and Barruol’s words from earlier echoed in my brain. I understood what it meant to have 14 successive generations of your family produce something from the local soil. It made me appreciate the wines that much more.
Later, we tasted in the second-century cellar, reputedly the oldest in France. In the 2007 Le Poste, I noticed the flintiness of the region’s limestone. The Le Claux, sourced from vines planted in 1875, had a floral nose and high tone that reflected the slope of the vineyard and the crispness of September mornings. I could taste the idea of wine country in every sip, the gathered wisdom of all those generations of Barruols in every glass.
Soon we said our goodbyes, and as I emerged into the bright day, with the Dentelles over my shoulders, I realized that it was noon and I was hungry. There was no question what to do next: I turned my car toward L’Oustalet and lunch.
Bruce Schoenfeld is T+L’s wine and spirits editor.