We grow 8 grape varieties, 5 red (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault) and 3 white (Grenache, Roussanne, Vermentino). This varietal diversity, which used to be the rule (varieties were mixed within the same plot), is still very interesting today. The different grape varieties (a grape variety is a vine variety) have very different characteristics in terms of the style of wine they produce, but also in terms of their agronomic aptitudes, earliness, sensitivity to disease, resistance to heat and drought. In a context of climate change, these differences are more than an asset, they are a real survival kit. Our experience shows that each of them finds in Faugères a singular expression of quality and identity of the terroir. There is therefore no reason for the evolution of the vineyard to stop, all the more so as varieties resistant to the main vine diseases exist and certain heritage varieties (old indigenous varieties of our terroir) that were long discredited are now regaining their legitimacy.
This diversity is also interesting because the blends give the wines a particular complexity resulting from the mixture but also from the talent of composition of the wine grower, even if finally it is often the vines which decide: according to the conditions of the year the volumes of grape produced by each one can vary considerably and it is not question of leaving beautiful grapes with the pretext of a blend with definitive proportions.
In 2018, for example, we discovered that the Carignan grape was not only very sensitive to oidium, but also to mildew, which took away practically the entire harvest of this variety. As a result, the Les Petites Mains cuvée has much less Carignan than usual: there was almost none.
It has taken us 20 years since our first vintage in 2000 to define the identity of our red wines with our vines but also with those who buy and drink our wines.
For “Les Petites Mains”, drunk most often within 5 years, we prefer Carignan (around 50%) for its magnificent fruit on the palate, its tension and its freshness. The wine is aged only in vats, so that the woodiness does not interfere with the fruit. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault complete the blend.
For the “Couture”, the Syrah, whose dense and velvety texture promises a very long ageing period, will be mainly associated with Grenache. The Syrah will be matured in demi-muid so as not to over-wood the wine. The Grenache will be aged in cement vats. Mourvèdre and Carignan will complete the picture.
“Au Bonheur des Dames” is the sweetness of Grenache which has found an exceptional ally in Mourvèdre. Few tannins, beautiful aromas often floral give the wine its volume and charm.
For “La Guerre des Boutons”, the latest, vinified and bottled entirely without sulphites, the grape varieties must ferment together in the same vat. Their destiny is therefore immediately linked at harvest time. Grenache, which is not very tannic, is a priority candidate, but depending on the conditions of the vintage in September, the state of the grapes, and the tasting of the berries, other grape varieties apply each year.
For the rosé, we’ve been experimenting a bit since our first vintage in 2009. The Cinsault was a must, but alone it was missing something, volume, length. The blend is now perfect, it is called “Frou-Frou” and includes 40% Cinsault, 40% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache.
“Les Champs Perdus”, our white Faugères, arrived in 2014, through the adoption of two very young vines of white Grenache and Roussanne. The production of Roussanne is very complicated and as the vine is very young there is no question of rushing it. We have since planted Vermentino. Each vintage is therefore a new beautiful discovery. See you in 15 years for new information about the art of blending whites at the Ancienne Mercerie.