Domaine Florence Alquier
Gilbert Alquier was one of the pioneers of Faugères, one of the first to plant Syrah and Mourvèdre, and to age his wine in barrel and put it in bottle. His two sons Jean-Michel and Frédéric took over their father’s vines and divided their inheritance into two estates. Jean-Michel continues to make exemplary Faugères, but sadly Frédéric died in 2015 and his ten hectares of his vines have been rented by Frédéric Desplats, who has also bought another 10 hectares in Roquessels, with a partner, Denis Degros. Frédéric Desplats has appropriately taken the name of Frederic’s widow, Florence, for his estate and describes it as a retirement project. They made their first wines in 2017, namely a white Le Village, from Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc; a rosé Plô des Figues with Cinsaut and some Grenache. There were two reds, Renaissance from predominantly Grenache, with some Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah, and Puech Mourié from Carignan, with some Grenache and Syrah. An oak-aged red was also in the pipeline.
Things have gradually evolved since my first visit and I have tasted Frederic’s wines a few times since his debut, and most recently at a tasting in London, hosted by iubentium. All are appellation Faugères.
2020 Renaissance Rouge
A blend of 45% Grenache Noir, 24% Carignan, 16% Syrah and 14% Mourvèdre. Medium colour. A rounded spicy nose and palate. Some lovely fruit and more supple and easy to drink than the other wines, but still with a bite of tannin. Nicely balanced.
2019 Black Slate Rouge
Named for the schist of Faugères. A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre. 20% Grenache and 10% Carignan. Deep colour. Quite a firm nose, with dense fruit and spice. And on the palate quite rich and ripe, with quite a solid mouthfeel. Youthful potential.
2017 Rieutord Rouge
A blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Carignan, 15% Grenache Noir and 5% Mourvèdre. Deep colour. Quite a firm solid rounded nose, with some ripe fruit on both nose and palate. It is maturing nicely and evolving into a lovely glass of wine, with some fresh fruit, balanced with a streak of tannin.
2021 1932 – 10.50€
This is a completely new cuvée, from a 60 ares vineyard, mainly of Carignan, planted in 1932. In 2021 it produced just 8 hectolitres, in other words about 1300 bottles. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel vat. I have a soft spot for old Carignan and this did not disappoint. Some carbonic maceration and no wood. Good colour. Ripe fruit on both nose and palate, with a youthful freshness on the palate. Very appealing.