I really enjoyed the Faugères fete this year. For a start although the sun was shining, the temperature was tempered with a refreshing breeze, and the narrow village street was cheerful and animated. The confrerie of Faugères processed with various visiting confreres, all dressed in colourful robes, and carrying their banners, accompanied by a fanfare of music. I had also arranged to meet my tasting buddy, Lits, before things got too crowded, but even so, access to Francoise Ollier from Domaine Ollier Taillefer or Simon Coulshaw at Domaine des Trinités was virtually impossible, with a crowd several deep around their barrels.
Domaine de Sarabande was right up the top of street so that was my first stop, with Paul and Isla Gordon.
2011 Rose – 7.00€
Paul has been experimenting with his rosé. This is 60% Cinsaut picked early, blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, picked later. It was quite solid and dense, with some very firm acidity. Paul wondered whether it would age a bit. He also made the pertinent observation that rosé may be his cheapest wine, but it is the most expensive to make, with a controlled fermentation necessitating three and a half weeks of high use of electricity.
2011 Misterioso – 7.00€
A blend of Grenache and Syrah. Quite a deep young colour. Ripe red cherry nose. Rounded palate with fresh tannins. Ripe rounded fruit with a fresh edge.
2010 Faugères – 11.00€
Ripe spicy with fresh tannins. Medium weight, and lovely Faugères
2010 Aramon, Vin de France.
This includes a touch of Syrah. Deep colour. Quite round berry fruit with some firm tannins and a peppery note. Youthful and fresh.
And asked how things are looking for 2012, Paul observed that he had a lot of fruit this year, but that’s relative – he means about 35 hl/ha as opposed to 25 hl/ha. The reason is a good spring in 2011, as it is the previous season that determines bunch initiation.
Domaine de l’Ancienne Mercerie
2010 Les Petites Mains – 8.70€
Quite firm leather nose – rounded spice, medium weight and elegant. Nice balance with a tannic edge. Élevage in vat. 50% Carignan, 20% each Grenache and Syrah with 10% Mourvèdre.
2008 Couture -14.80€
Same assemblage as les Petites Main, but with two years in wood. Quite rounded and solid, with well-integrated oak. Good structure; should age.ore anon as I am going back for a cellar visit later in the month.
Domaine de Valambelle in Laurens, with Michel Abbal. A sympathique vigneron who I had not met before.
2011 Rosé – 6.00
Grenache with a little Cinsaut, Carignan and Syrah. Fresh raspberry and strawberry fruit, with some fresh acidity and a ripe finish.
2011 Faugères, Millepeyres – 6.00€
Medium colour, ripe and fresh with rounded supple fruit. Easy drinking. Includes all five varieties of the Midi, but Carignan and Grenache dominate the blend.
2009 L’Angolet – 7.00€
35% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 10% Mourvèdre. Some leather y nose. Quite dense perfumed fruit, with furry tannins. Some red fruit and quite a warm finish.
2008 Florentin Abbal – 8.50€
60% Syrah, 20% Carignan, 10% each of Mourvèdre and Grenache. Aged in vat. Ripe rounded fruit. Some soft spice and some tannin. A touch of peppery. Medium weight.
2009 La Grande Cuvee – 13.50€
70% with an élevage in wood. Medium colour. Quite solid and dense and a bit drying on the finish. I preferred the unoaked cuvées.
2011 Faugères Blanc – 9.50€
A blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Quite fresh white blossom on the nose. Good acidity, with some hints of fennel. And a tannic streak.
My previous tasting of Valambelle had been a bit cursory and fleeting, but I thought some of these promised well.
Domaine Frederic Alquier
2010 Faugères Blanc, - 9.50€
A blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. Light golden. Quite ripe and fleshy with some rounded fruit, a herbal note and some balancing acidity.
I am less enthusiastic about Frederic’s other wines, so we moved on to Domaine de Cébène. I’ve tasted Brigitte’s wines and blogged about them recently, so will not repeat my tasting notes, but it was good to have a chat and she also wanted me to taste the wines of Domaine St. Martin d’Agel. Brigitte and her partner, Pierre Roque, help the owner, Céline Lugagne-Delpon. There have been vines on the property for 200 years or so, but production in bottle is recent.
There were two cuvées to taste, 2010 le Pelerin and 2010 La Chapelle. I found some fruits rouges in both, but there was also a curious streak that I could not identify. Pierre suggested minerality, but I wasn’t sure. Celine said that her aim was gourmandise, and that she was looking for wines that are easy to drink. She has 35 hectares next to the Château de Grézan, including 12 hectares of Faugères, while the rest is Coteaux du Languedoc.
Simon Coulshaw was proudly sporting a T shirt stating that Stress is Useless. And we managed to grab a glass of his 2011 rosé – 6.25€, with some delicious ripe fruit and refreshing acidity.
Next stop was Château Peyresgrandes, with mixed impressions. The wines seemed to have a bit too much oak with not quite enough fruit to balance it. A couple of wines from Chateau des Adouzes left us underwhelmed.
And then we came to Chateau Haut Lignières. This estate changed hands five years ago, so that the first vintage under new ownership was 2007. And the quality has improved.
2011 rosé – 6.50€
Mainly Cinsaut. Light pretty colour. Fresh and crisp with some herbal fruit.
Le 1er – 6.50€
Their entry level Faugères and from all five grape varieties. Lovely fresh ripe nose, with supply rounded fruit and a slightly tannic edge, which gives some backbone. Stony minerality . Very appealing.
2011 Romy – 8.50€
No Cinsaut in this and 50% in vat and 50% in barrel. Ripe and rounded with more body and a good stony finish.
2009 Carmina Butis – 13.50€
The name means red hill. Twelve months élevage in wood. 60% Syrah. Medium colour; quite perfumed fruit on nose and palate. Medium weight with an oaky streak.
2009 Grande Reserve – 18.00€
We were told that this came from the same varieties, grown on the same plot, with the same picking date. The grapes were destemmed by hand and the juice fermented in barrel, using only the free run juice. It is only made in the best years. The colour was good and the nose was quite solid and dense. The palate was youthful and tannic, and the oak quite present with some vanilla notes. I thought there was potential, but perversely I much preferred Carmina Butis.
Would definitely repay a cellar visit.
And we finished in the cool tasting room of the Presbytère with Alix Roque, for a comparison of Mas d'Alezon, 2010 Presbytère, in which Grenache is the main variety, with some cherry fruit, firm tannins and a youthful balance, and 2010 Montfalette, which was stony and ripe, with rounded spice. Both delicious.
Alix was also showing a bottle of 2002 Coteaux du Languedoc – it was not Faugères as her mother did not have a cellar in Faugères in 2002, hence the declassification. It was quite evolved with some leathery notes, and dry spice, with fading elegance. And a nice finale to the morning.
Some of the different coloured schist in the vineyards of Faugeres.