The wines of Faugères by Rosemary George

The wines of FaugeresWhy write a book on Faugères? Because it is there. Because it is the nearest vineyard to my Languedoc home. Because I love the wines and their variety within this small area. I tasted and drank my first Faugères on an early visit to the Languedoc in 1987, when Gérard Alquier, whose sons have continued to make exemplary wine, gave me a perfumed 1985, as well as his experimental cuvée of an oak-aged wine and I immediately loved the spicy flavours of fruits rouges and garrigues. I have never been able to resist them ever since.

 

Faugères is a compact vineyard, compared to many of the other compared to many appellations of the Languedoc, with for red wine, the usual quintet of grape varieties, namely Syrah, Carignan, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsaut, all grown on the distinctive schist soil. That defines the appellation, but none the less the variety is infinite, prompted by the human hand and the perceptible differences between the seven different villages. White wines, which account for a meagre 2% of the appellation, amply demonstrate how they are developing and improving with every vintage, with their wonderful herbal flavours conjuring up the scents of the herbs of the garrigues, fennel, bay and thyme. Pink Faugères, which accounts for just 18% of the appellation, provides delicious refreshing drinking with acidity and delicate fruit. The wines of Faugères should always have a distinctive freshness, which places them amongst the finest of the Languedoc region.

 

Since that first visit in 1987 I have returned regularly to the area, and with increasing frequency over the last ten years, since I acquired a home in the Languedoc. Then over several months in 2014, with subsequent visits in 2015 and 2016, I managed to visit every vigneron in the appellation, as well as the cave coopérative, and including four new young wine growers, with quite different backgrounds, who made their first wine in 2014. The variety amongst the vignerons made for rewarding research. Many are newcomers to the Languedoc, attracted by the terroir, the climate, and above all the possibility to experiment and to create something new. They come from England, Australia, Ireland, Bordeaux, Alsace, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain. And then there are vignerons whose families have been there for generations. The wines of Faugères is therefore the culmination of several highly enjoyable weeks of research, walking through vineyards, and talking and tasting in welcoming cellars. Naturally things will not stand still. I know that there are other new wine growers, and new wines from existing estates in the pipeline. A book about a wine appellation can only provide a snapshot at one particular moment, of what is one of the most individual appellations of the Languedoc.

 

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