Continuing to explore the similarities, or otherwise, between Faugères and St. Chinian, I found myself at a tasting of the wines of the largest Cabardès producer, Château Pennautier. The Lorgeril family have expanded their vineyard holdings considerably in recent years and now own Château de Ciffre, the property that includes both St. Chinian and Faugères. They make a selected cuvée, Terroirs d’Altitude, in both appellations and they did taste true to form, with the Faugères more supple and perfumed, while St. Chinian was more structured, with vines grown on schist, as well as clay and limestone soil.

2009 Château de Ciffre, Classic St.Chinian
A blend of 40 % Syrah, 30% Carignan 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre, with no oak ageing. Medium colour; dry spice with quite a firm spicy palate. Medium weight; rounded with a dry finish.

They do not make a Faugères Classic, as they have less vineyards of Faugères than St. Chinian.

2008 Faugères, Terroirs d’Altitude
70% Syrah, 20% Grenache Noir (old vines) and 10% Mourvèdre, grown on schist. 20% of the wine is aged in 600 litre demi-muids for 12 months. Quite a perfumed nose, from the high proportion of Syrah, with fresh fruit and spice. Medium weight and not obviously oaky

2008 St. Chinian Terroirs d’Altitude.
60% Syrah; 40% Grenache, grown on schist as well as clay and limestone.
Medium colour. Quite firm nose,; a touch leathery. More structured that the Faugères, with more obvious oak. Quite firm and structured. Just what you would expect from St. Chinian. However I preferred the Classic cuvée. And loved the Faugères Terroirs d’Altitude.

They also make several cuvées of Cabardès. Here my favourites were :

2009 Cabardès Classic
A blend of 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, with no oak ageing. Medium colour; quite firm fruit on the nose, with some rounded cassis and a touch of spice on the palate, with a tannic streak.

2008 Cabardès Terroirs d’Altitude
A blend of 30% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Grenache Noir and 5% Malbec. Some oak ageing. Riper and more rounded than the Classic, with some smoky notes from the oak and some quite supple tannins.


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