Situated in the heart of Gigondas is one of the region's oldest estates, Chateau St. Cosme. The property has been in the same family for some 500 years. In 1992 Louis Barroul took control of the winemaking from his father and made that 'giant leap' to bottle and market his own wine. Previously his father had sold his wine to the local co-operative.
The intense, articulate Louis Barroul is an uncompromising wine maker and highly self-critical. If he is at all unsatisfied with his wines he does not hesitate to sell off in bulk. Since harvesting here occurs later than the norm Louis was forced to sell his entire stock of the 1994 Gigondas because, as he told me, he had waited for the optimum maturity in his vineyards only to be defeated by the rains.
There is a degree of commitment bordering on fanaticism here that I have rarely encountered elsewhere. Louis' understanding of what is required to make top-class wine has no equal.