This was suppose to be one of those only pictures updates but what the heck, let’s write something since I’m too hangoverish to continue tasting wines after enjoying way too many glasses yesterday at a wine bar in Beziers serving only magnums and the connection is so shoddy uploading pictures takes five minutes a piece.
Yes, I’m currently in Languedoc, trying hard to understand the vast region with simple outer layer but very complex core. The new world of the old world, some say. I can see where they are coming from. But you already know all of this so let’s get to the business to make it worth your time.
Faugères is one of the more interesting sub regions of Languedoc that I find very agreeable in over all quality. It consists of seven villages with 40 something producers and a few co-operatives. What separates Faugères from it’s neighbors is the schist found in the soil that provides wines with the kind of firmness in the mid palate one has to appreciate. Call it minerality if you will.
At its worst Faugères suffers from the same shortcomings as it’s neighboring Saint-Chinian: over extracted style that is intense on flavors but flabby on structure, ending with this semi-bitter black olive flavor common in Chilean icon wines (suggesting to me excessive heat) and a hefty amount of fine grained wood tannins that make you gasp for air instead of cleansing the palate. Thankfully these are in the minority and mostly the balance is comfortable even for me, usually having problems with this style of reds.
The area is dry to the point of being arid and the soils are very poor as you can see in the picture below. Back in the days these poor soils were worked by the poor because wine was basically the only thing able to succeed on the land. Besides chick peas that aren’t exactly a money making machine either. Marry a farmer from Faugères and stay poor was the concept for hundreds of years.
I was surprised to see how many of the Faugères producers have gone organic. These days 30 percent of the domaines are bio and numbers are rising year by year. I’ll stop the rambling here and try to get myself into professional state of mind to carry on tasting wines of Languedoc as I know they have at least a hundred bottles open in the close vicinity. Meanwhile, the pictures.
Disclaimer: I’m visiting the region as a guest of a generic organization promoting French wine