A bottle turned up unexpectedly in the post one morning a couple of weeks ago. My good friend Catherine Roque had sent me her latest Faugères, the 2019 Cuvée Presbytère, complete with a smart new label. And the wine was delicious, with a deep, young colour and ripe spicy nose, that was wonderfully opulent. A rounded ripe palate, with fruit and spice, with a streak of tannin providing balanced structure. Even though it is less than a year old, it is remarkably ready to drink, with immediate appeal, and a modest 12.5°.
The blend is 40% each of Cinsault and Grenache, including its cousin, Lledoner Pelut. There is also 10% Carignan for some structure and 10% Syrah for some spice. Catherine favours a gentle infusion of whole bunches for about four weeks in cement vat or concrete egg; there is no pigeage or any other extraction. Then the wine is aged in either a chestnut foudre, or in oak barrels for eight to nine months.
I asked Catherine about the weather conditions in 2019. She said that the year was marked by the wind. The winter was fairly dry and cold. March was dry and mild and the vines started to grow. Cooler than average April and May slowed down their growth, with dry windy weather. Flowering was around June 15th. The summer was dry, with little wind and on occasion some very high temperatures which blocked the ripening process. The harvest took place in September in dry windy conditions. In short, the grapes were concentrated by the north wind and ripened in good conditions. And 2020 so far is marked by water.
The new label was designed by Delphine, Catherine’s third daughter who is an architect, as her mother was, before she came to wine. Delphine found an old plan of Faugères in the departmental archives of Montpellier and they were able to use it to make a very effective label.