Château Barrail du Blanc Grand Cru is a Corney & Barrow UK exclusivity. This is a tiny property, just three hectares in size, located in Saint Sulpice de Faleyrons, planted on rather light, well-drained soils. Such terroir makes for easy-drinking, generous wines which drink well even when very young. The family which has owned Barrail du Blanc for over 150 years, formerly sold off their grapes. However, in 1995 they decided to produce their own wine. Considerable investment was necessary and new, thermo-regulated tanks were installed, as well as a maturation cellar – all to ensure optimal quality. The soil here dictates that this can never be a massively powerful wine – but so much the better for that, wine consumers need such approachable, easy drinking wines. Charming and accessible, Barrail du Blanc produces a fine Saint-Emilion Grand Cru which makes people smile, without breaking the bank.
The soil mix is 80% pure gravel, with the rest a mix of gravel and sand, planted with a regular Saint-Emilion mix; 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. Now totally renovated, the cellars ensure an optimum environment for very traditional winemaking, with thermo-regulated vats and a barrel room for maturing the wines. Sixty per cent is matured in oak, half of which is new, whilst the remainder goes into stainless steel. This has the advantage of preserving the freshness and vitality of the fruit yet gaining some weight, texture and savoury notes from the oak yet it must have been a courageous step. The capital investment was huge given that the annual production is just 18,000 bottles on average. This is a fabulous buy and a great favourite with the Corney & Barrow team.