Some words on Faugères
These wines are from the Faugères appellation, located approximately in the middle of Languedoc in southern France and consisting of seven communes, of which Faugères is one. The vineyards partly consist of terraces, and characteristic of Faugères is a high proportion of slate in the soils. The wines are blends of several varieties, and as often is the case in Languedoc, some varieties are shared with southern Rhône. The grape varieties that may be used in red Faugères wines are Grenache (G), Lledoner Pelut (LP – a less common grape variety closely related to Grenache), Mourvèdre (M), Syrah (S), Carignan (Ca), and Cinsaut (Ci), with complicated rules as to the proportions allowed. In short, the rules are G+LP+M+S >= 50%, G+LP >= 20%, S >= 15%, M >= 5%, 10% <= Ca <= 40%, Ci <= 20%. This means that a red Faugères always must consist of at least four varieties, and that the proportion may vary between 0-70% Grenache, 0-70% Lledoner Pelut, 15%-65% Syrah, 5%-55% Mourvèdre, 10%-40% Carignan, and 0-20% Cinsaut. However, it’s not too difficult to find wines that seem to step beyond these proportions. Binet-Jacquet only produces red wines, but whites and rosés are also allowed in Faugères.
2013 Domaine Binet-Jacquet Faugères
25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 25% Mourvèdre, 20% Cinsault, and 5% Grenache. Stored in tanks (no oak) for 10 months. 13.5% alcohol.
Berry-dominated nose with rather ripe red berries and some dark berries, a hint of smoke, spices, and some animal notes. The nose reminds me of Southern Rhône. The palate is medium bodied, again berry-dominated with a mixture of red and dark berries, rather tart berry note and good acidity, some firmness to the tannins and with a good freshness. The palate is cooler in style than the nose, so less Southern Rhône here. Drinks well now, but could probably benefit from at least 1-2 years in the cellar, 88 p.
(Tasted from magnum.)
Based on the nose I would have guessed that this wine had seen some oak, but the palate is more typical of an unoaked red wine, with its fine freshness. The wine isn’t in any way “too light” or in any way “simple”. This should be a wine to the taste of those who are of the opinion that the world has too many overoaked wines.
2012 Domaine Binet-Jacquet Faugères Réserve
40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. Spent 22 months in tanks and old oak barrels. 14% alcohol.
Nose with rather ripe berries, spices, some animal notes, and a very discrete and well integrated oak note. The palate is medium(+) bodied, shows ripe red berries and cherries, good acidity, some tart berries, rather noticeable tannins, and an aftertaste with some tannins and a hint of bitterness. Should probably get at least 1-2 years of cellaring, but 3-4 years would probably be better, 88(+) p.
Compared to the previous wine this shows more animal notes, and in the palate there’s more power and more noticeable tannins.
2011 Domaine Binet-Jacquet Faugères Grande Réserve
40% Mourvèdre, 40% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Carignan. 22 months in oak, of which 20% new. 14.5% alcohol.
Nose with rather ripe dark berries including dark cherries, hints of tar and liquorice, and a well integrated oak note. The palate is medium bodied+ with ripe dark cherries, good acidity and noticeable tannins that are embedded in the fruit, with an aftertaste of dark berries and some tannin. I’d give this at least 2-3 years of cellaring, and considering the Mourvèdre component it should be able to take considerably more cellaring (10 years shouldn’t be a problem), 90(+) p.
This wine is darker in its aromas than the previous two, which isn’t too surprising given its Mourvèdre content and that it has seen a bit more oak. Although it is the most obvious “wine for the cellar” of the three, I also find it easier to drink now than the 2012 Réserve, which is probably more a reflection of the vintage character than of the varietal composition. Since I did mention the Mourvèdre grape, it might be worth mentioning that this wine is a much more “friendly” wine than a typical Bandol.
A very interesting observation is something I don’t find in any of the wines: overly noticeable alcohol. Well done!
Typical for the vintages tasted, 2011, 2012 och 2013, is that they show somewhat different style and quality in different French wine regions. The vintages 2009 and 2010 were much more consistent across all of France. In the south, 2011 was a relatively hot vintage, while 2012 and 2013 were cooler.
As a reference we also tasted:
Domaine Binet-Jacquet Faugères Réserve 2008
The nose shows some developed notes, rather dark berries and spice. The palate is medium bodied(+), with some sweetness of berries, rather dark berries, rather good acidity, spices and somewhat noticeable tannins. Fully developed. I’d say that all the three previous wines, those in current distribution, are better than this wine and will develop better with cellaring, which isn’t too surprising since 2006 was the first vintage produced by Binet-Jacquet.