Alain Ollier, father of Françoise, at the Faugères fête in his splendid confrere robes
Thirsty house guests were the reason for our visit to the Faugères estate of Domaine Ollier-Taillefer in Fos where Françoise Ollier always gives you a warm welcome. They have opened a smart new tasting caveau since my last visit a year ago. This is an estate that has evolved nicely with the next generation, converting to organic viticulture. and developing new wines.
Our tasting began with :
2017 Faugères Rosé, 7.30€ - which is just what is needed in the high summer temperatures of the Languedoc. A blend of Cinsaut and Grenache, with the fruit of young vines of Syrah and Mourvedre. The wine is firm and fresh, nicely rounded with some raspberry fruit. Beautifully refreshing and undemanding.
2015 Faugères, Les Collines - 7.60€
This wine for me is sunshine in a glass. A mouthful of this and I see the garrigue-covered hills of the Languedoc, and road between Gabian and Faugères. It is rounded and ripe, with spice and fruit, and a balancing streak of tannin.
Next came a trio of Grande Réserve, 11.00€ their unoaked cuvée from older vines. The 2015 immediately made a good contrast with les Collines, with more depth, spice and weight. 2015 was a warm year, but nonetheless the wine retains a fresh finish. 2014 was a complicated harvest, with a couple of serious storms, but this Grande Réserve has turned out very well. it is currently Françoise’s favourite of the three, with some rich rounded fruit, and an elegant streak of tannin of the finish, with some considerable depth. 2013 was another warm year, with ripe fruit and firmer, more structured tannins than the 2014.
A pair of the oaked cuvée, Castel Fossibus, 16.50€, displayed the same vintage differences. It is blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged for twelve months in barrels, varying in age from one to seven years, with just 15% new. The 2014 had hints of eucalyptus and garrigue, with quite a firm finish. while the 2013 was more closed initially, with some firm tannins, balanced with ripe fruit. A with the Grande Reserve, the 2014 vintage is drinking more easily.
Last of the reds was the newest addition to the range, Rêve de Noé, 25.50€, a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre in equal parts, all aged in new oak. 2013 was the first vintage; none was made in 2014, and this 2015 has recently been bottled. The colour is deep and young, with sturdy red fruit on the nose, and some oak. The oak on the palate is well integrated and there is a pleasing freshness to the wine, with fruit and spice. However, there is something about it that is less languedocien than the other wines, possibly the impact of the new oak.
And our tasting finished with 2017 Faugères Blanc Allegro, 11.00€, which is one of my favourite white Faugères, and a blend of Roussanne and Vermentino, with some fresh herbal fruit on both nose and palate, with good acidity and a satisfying mouthfeel. It made a lovely finale to a tasting.
Françoise has kindly agreed to sell copies of my book, Wines of the Languedoc, in her caveau, so give yourself a treat - go and taste and buy some wine, and a book as well! And their open day on Sunday 29th July is well worth the journey.