This is always a great opportunity to catch up with some old favourites, and discover some new wine growers.
Domaine Clamouse – Jacques Clamouse made his first wines in 2010 – a rosé and a red. This is his retirement project and he has just two hectares of vines. His red was delicious, some fresh peppery fruit and lovely balance.
I by no means tasted wines from all the producers – there were nineteen in all, each showing a few wines. And conditions were far from ideal. By the time I reached Domaine Valambelle at the bottom of the street, temperatures were rising and the wines were warming up, with the result that they simply tasted over alcoholic. Well done those who had thought to bring an icebox such as Château Chenaie, with some lovely elegant wines. I particularly enjoyed their 2009 Les Ceps d’Emile, from vines planted 80 years ago, and also a slightly lighter 2009 red Conviction, while the 2010 rosé Conviction was fresh and delicate.
Les Fusionels – as good as I remembered them from a cellar visit a couple of years ago. Intemporelle has some lovely fruit, with a supple tannic edge. Elegant balance.
Domaine des Trinités – a delicious rose and some intriguing Roussanne. I didn’t try Simon’s reds.
Domaine de Cebène – Brigitte Chevalier’s wines are stylish and elegant. Ex Arena, 90% Grenache, with some ripe cherry fruit, and a leathery finish, along with a spicy 2009 Bancels and more sturdy 2008 Felgaria.
Brigitte is also involved with a new property, Domaine de Saint Martin d’Agel, but I was not taken with that, and indeed Brigitte didn’t think that it was showing as it should be
I have never visited Domaine de l’Ancienne Mercerie - Nathalie Caumette has just taken over as the new president of the syndicat of Faugères and she has ambitions for her appellation. And I liked her wines too, Les Petites Mains and Couture, and promised to return for a cellar visit.
Frederic Alquier – For me, his white wine, a His Roussanne Marsanne blend is his best wine.
Domaine Bois de Rose was new to me, but I did not feel that I needed to continue the acquaintance.
Château de Grézan was disappointing – some rather pedestrian wine-making, and Château des Adouzes also failed to inspire.
Domaine Ollier Taillefer remains an old favourite and Domaine de Sarabande is one of my new favourites.
And the finale was a vertical tasting of ten vintages of Mas d’Alézon. The first three vintages were not Faugères, but Coteaux du Languedoc. You need a minimum of 5% Mourvèdre to make Faugeres, and Catherine did not have it until 2004. However I was hard pushed to decide whether I preferred the 2000 or the 2002. Both had aged beautifully; the 2002 was more elegant with some spicy garrigues fruit, with length and complexity, while the 2000 was more sturdy, with warm leathery fruit and some lovely notes of mature Syrah. Who says wines from the Languedoc do not age?