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Du Coulet

Matthieu Barret of Domaine du Coulet
Matthieu Barret of Domaine du Coulet

Matthieu Barret, seventh generation winemaker, studied viticulture in Beaune and joined his grandfather in Cornas in 1997. After inheriting a parcel of vines from his grandfather, who used to sell grapes to the local cooperative, Matthieu built his own Domaine Du Coulet in Cornas on. He immediately began to work the vines organically and produced his first vintage in 2000.

The Domaine du Coulet now has 11.1 hectares. The vines are planted on steep, south and southeast facing terraces carved into the granite rock of Cornas. The roots of the vines are forced to penetrate deep into the granite rock, resulting in small yields and concentrated, powerful wines.

The vines are on average 40 to 55 years old and are certified both organic and biodynamic. Matthieu firmly believes that these viticultural principles allow him to express a sense of place and purity of fruit in the finished wine. Biodiversity and sustainability are two of Matthieu's main concerns in managing his vineyards.

In 2012, he replaced machinery in the vineyard with mules, horses and hand labor and began planting green spaces around the vineyards to promote a healthy environment for wildlife.

More about Du Coulet

Matthieu has also consistently focused on innovation and minimal intervention in the winery. The grapes are harvested by hand and enter the cellar, which is operated exclusively by gravity. There they are destemmed, but not crushed. In 2006, Matthieu decided to use fewer oak barrels for vinification and began experimenting with concrete egg and diamond-shaped vats. The aim here is to achieve the most unadulterated expression of the fruit. From the 2017 vintage onwards, he decided to completely eliminate barriques from his winemaking. Both the Cailloux breeze as well as the billes noires are vinified with endemic yeasts while carefully punching down the marc for about two weeks before being gently pressed.

The "'Billes Noires' is made from a selection of fruit from the highest vineyards, which are drier and more exposed to the wind. This, combined with the fact that the topsoil here is shallower, forcing the vines to dig deeper into the granite rock, results in a more concentrated wine. It is aged for 24 months: the first 12 months in eight-year-old 500 and 600 litre demi-muids, followed by 12 months in a blend of 20 hectolitre diamond-shaped concrete barrels and 6 hectolitre egg-shaped concrete barrels. This is an intense wine with Aromas of black olives, ripe red fruits and fragrant Provençal herbs on the nose., with an impressive concentration of fruit and a mineral freshness on the palate.

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