Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 Faugeres Grenache Tasting

Grenache the premier variety of Faugeres

Grenache is a very important variety in all of the Languedoc. It especially strives in soils where it has to struggle to obtain moisture. The Grenache grown in Faugeres has been established in schist soils. The vine roots push down the cracks between the slate to find moisture that has drained to the nutrient rich sub soils. These nutrients, combined with a nuetral soil pH, produce wines that have depth of colour, intensity and a brilliant minerality.

Five producers - One variety - lots of laughs

This is the first tasting in a series that investigates the varieties of Faugeres. Grenache is one of the top three varieties. Carignan and Syrah are the other major varieties. Cinsault and Mourvedre make up the pack. Five producers brought along two tank samples that we all tasted blind.

Influence of House styles

Our charming neighbors and one of the true biodynamic producers in Faugeres. Quite funky wines especially their first wine that was possibly a touch reduced with some under ripe phenolics. Both their wines were full of juicy raspberry fruits and some lovely anise characters.

Two samples from one of our favourite producers in Faugeres. The first was a funky little number that was full of bubble gum fruits and quite light in colour. We later found out that this was carbonically fermented. A wine to look out for. The second was more typical Faugeres with some lovely concentrated fruits and acidic epicity. A little reduced but should clean up nicely in a blend.

The third wines were very fruity rich and intense. Again some lovely acidity holding these samples together. Lifted juicy red fruits. Some reduction but nothing that cannot be altered. You can taste the schist in these wines.

Some very good wines from some altitude vineyards above Caberolles. The first was a bit quirky, from a struggling ferment, but packed full of confected fruits and very attractive. The second was probably the best of the tasting. Full rounded and ripe. It looked especially good as it had been through MLF and was in barrel but liked by all. Excellent Faugeres with chocolate, violets and cherries matched with lovely acidity.

Finally our wines. Both my samples looked quite unusual in the lineup as they were a little left field. I think this was down to the small open topped fermenters that we use and the indigenous yeast from our vineyards. The first was quite strawberry and red cherry with some clean delicate characters. The second was more complex showing full fruits but some nice freshness on the palate. Described as "raspberry ripple icecream". Not bad for Grenache I thought.

Some really interesting samples from wineries with some quite different philosophies. I look forward to our next tasting in January where we will investigate Carignan of Faugeres.

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