Our Jerry Garcia of the Northern Rhône, biodynamic since 2001, Matthieu sits alone with his Vallée du Coulet parcels, his cement eggs and a deference to the purity of savage. His biosphere is in Cornas.
Matthieu Barret was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1975 and studied viticulture in Beaune.
He is the 7th generation vigneron and joined his grandfather in Cornas in 1997. Previously, his family had only been farming and selling grapes.
In Beaune, Matthieu discovered immediately his proclivity with organic viticulture and with living ecosystems. Beginning with the first vintage in 2000, Matthieu worked principally in the vineyard, applying his hand with organic viticulture. Not content with his end result, in 2006 he decided to radically change his vinification process by using less barrels and replacing them with concrete eggs. His ongoing evolution and pursuit of purity and expression continue to dominate his chais.
In 2012, he stopped using machines in Cornas and replaced them with mules, horses, and manual labor. He also started to create ‘green spaces’ around the farm, digging watering holes to nourish an ecosystem with a diversity of species. ie: vines and the forest, meadows and woodlands.
According to Matthieu, the plant is happier in a wild environment rather than in a desert comprised of only vines. This diversity brings a distinct identity to his grapes; when the vineyard biome is treated with respect, he says, this balance is easier to maintain.
Matthieu owns 11 ha in Cornas with of the total 150 ha in the AOP, including his monopole ‘Vallée du Coulet’ in the northern most part of Cornas, most famous for its impossible steep grade and its exposure to Le Mistral. Le Mistral is a famous current of wind that blows from Lyon and ends in Provence. It’s a maddening wind, that keeps this vineyard spectacularly dry even in times of rain.