2012 Famille Bieler “Lou Bar Rou”

Hello friends. Lou is back!

Well, sort of.

Today we have a new Lou, the follow up to last summer’s 2011 Lou Ven Tou, which remains the most popular import wine we’ve ever offered:

Our tariff has gone up by a buck (bummer), but I think you’ll agree that we’re pretty damned competitive price-wise on Lou nationally. Also, this is not really the same wine. It really is a new Lou. Let’s dig into it.

Now, Charles Bieler is no stranger to Washingtonians. He has been partnered with Charles Smith of K Vintners fame since 2010 in the Charles & Charles label. You know: these guys.

But before he got involved making wine in our fair state, M. Bieler was working with his father Philippe on Chateau Routas in Provence. Founded by Philippe in 1992, the Chateau was sold in 2005, and soon after the sale of Routas, Bieler Pere et Fils was founded. That label has made a killing mostly through its Provence Rosé, but they have also introduced a new project: the Lous.

Lou Ven Tou was a play on the pronunciation of Le Ventoux, the AOC where both wines come from. And Lou Bar Rou is a similar play on Le Barroux, the town that is the entire source of today’s wine. Here is its location. What a spot! You can see that we’re in the same neighborhood as Gigondas and Vacqueyras, appellations that command considerably higher prices than humble AOC Ventoux.

This is also a mountainous region, where ancient Triassic limestone has pushed up into the subsoils. The Bieler family knows how to spot value, and they purchased the vineyard that goes into this Lou in 2007, old vines that sit on those ancient soils, at elevations of 1500 feet. This part of the world is Grenache country, and that dominates Lou, at 60% of the blend, rounded out with 25% Syrah, 13% Cinsault, and 2% Carignan.

Another feature that Lou Bar Rou shares with Lou Ven Tou is the classy packaging, which easily belies the price point (isn’t it nice to have an inexpensive bottle that looks *and* tastes expensive to bring to other people’s parties?). Also, like Lou #1, Lou #2 was raised entirely in concrete, so it’s all purity of Provencal fruit that we get here. That expresses itself in a mix of ripe raspberry fruit, briny green olives, and hot-rock minerality. There are streaks of smoked meat and garrigue as well; again this is just way more complexity than we have any right to expect at this tariff. This is a fleshy, openly delicious bottle, summer BBQ wine if there ever was one. But man, put this into a blind tasting, and dollars to donuts that more than one pro would call this out as Gigondas. I don’t know what magic the Bielers are working, but this is two vintages in a row where they’ve made ringers for their more expensive neighbors.

Now unlike last year, this one is unfortunately much more limited, and likely won’t be reoffered or available for reorder. So let’s get now while the getting’s good. Please limit order requests to 24 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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