Domaine Florent Pastor - A day in Faugères. Part 2


Florent Pastor was the second new winemaker of my day in Faugeres, and the youngest.  It ids always so inspiring to meet young winemakers at the beginning of their career,


The family vineyards came from Florent’s mother, with 25 hectares in the Faugères cooperative.  Florent is the sixth generation of his family to be a wine growers, and in 2021, prompted by his father’s untimely death, he took five hectares of vineyards out of the cooperative, so that he could put his studies to good effect and make his own wine.  However, you can sense that he really likes being in the vineyards.  Altogether he has 30 different vineyards, grouped in four large plots, between 20 ares to two hectares in size.   The oldest vines are some Carignan planted by his great grandfather in 1930, and most of his vineyards were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, by his grandfather.  The vineyards are HVE, on which the coop insisted.  Florent is not convinced, as he finds  it time consuming and costly.  We tasted in his mother’s house at the top of the village, but Florent explained that he is buying a building opposite the old station of Faugères, which he is going to convert into a cellar, hopefully in time for the 2024 harvest.  Negotiations are underway.


And as Florent only has 20 ares of Carignan Blanc in production for white wine, he has bought 2 hectares for Faugères Blanc, Roussanne and Vermentino and is planting some Grenache Blanc, which will enable him to extend his range.  So our tasting began with:


2022 Carignan Blanc 1961, Vin de France – 11.00€.  

1961 is the year that the vines were planted, and the birthday of his mother.   Light colour.  Quite a firm herbal nose.  Nice weight.  Good acidity with a fresh finish.  I liked this a lot.  A lovely example of a grape variety that is making a serious comeback in its reputation.  The grapes were hand-picked and destemmed.  No malo. Kept in vat.  


Carignan is considered a cepage accessoire, so not mainstream in the Faugères appellation, but people are being to appreciate its quality, and realise how suitable it is, given the current problems with climate change.  The same too can be said for Terret Blanc.   Carignan Blanc is very lively, and fresh, and not at all an aromatic variety.  Florent is wondering about blending it with some Roussanne .  He also observed that he could not get a subsidy for planting it as the vines were a sélection massale, and did not come from a nursery…..


2022 Petite Jeanne rosé  - 8.00€

After his daughter Jeanne who is just two.  A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.  Pale colour.   Florent wants a rosé du terroir, not a rosé de piscine, so a wine with some vinosity. He may even make a rosé with some élevage in wood., observing that the coop has made a rose that is a vin de garde.  I think it is high time I visited the coop again.  It would seem that they have progressed quite a lot since my last visit a while ago.


Pale orange pink.  Lightly fruit nose. Good weight on the palate, while retaining elegant.  Fresh fruit and acidity.  The Grenache provides fruit and the Syrah vinosity and colour.  The grapes are not destemmed, but lightly pressed.  


2022 Passation Faugères – 8.00€

Florent explained the meaning of passation, talking about the passing of the estate, the transfer of power, or ownership.  Carignan, 60% fermented by carbonic maceration, with 40% Grenache Noir destemmed with a classic fermentation.  He does not want his wines too extracted.  This was a bright red in colour, with fresh liqueur cherry fruit from the Grenache and some notes of carbonic maceration.   Supple tannins. Very fresh and would be perfect served lightly chilled.   

2021 La Grange de Marc  - 13/.00€

2021 was his first vintage and the wine is named after his grandfather.   40% Syrah in new wood for eight months, with 30% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre in stainless steel vats.   He does not want too much oak.   Medium colour.  Quite peppery on the nose and palate.   Quite elegant.  Youthful tannins. The oak is well integrated.   Medium weight. Red fruit with a fresh finish.  

Again, Florent does not want too much extraction.   There is a short automatic remontage four times a day.  The Syrah is left on the skins in a closed vat for a short month, with the juice and skins macerating gently, to obtain aroma and fruit without too much extraction.  He is influenced by Jean Michel Alquier who he described as the roi de l’appellation, the king of the appellation. Florent was lucky to escape any frost damage in  2021 and his harvest was quite big, as there was a lot of rain that year.   


Then we went to look at his vineyards, first near Mas de Cébène and then to the south of the village of Faugères.   Florent talked about the differences in the appellation, in the north it is more humid, with less clay.  Florent has green manure in his vineyards, cultivating féverole, which translates as horse beans in English, radish with its distinctive white flowers, which helps with soil compaction, oats and some other grains in the poorer soil.   The plantings alternate, with every other row cultivated, so the vineyards are striped.  Florent likes gobelet, bush vines as it provides protection against the wind, whereas cordon royat is more vulnerable.  He is also planting some olive trees, as well as an experimental vineyard of 3179, which is a member of the Grenache family,  just 1500 plants in 30 ares, which should resist disease.    There was a view of the sea, a silvery line on the horizon.  The land rests for ten years after vines are pulled up, especially with vines infected with court noué.   We admired three generations of adjoining vineyards, the oldest vines planted by his great grandfather in 1930, with some Grenache planted by his father in 1999 and a plot of Syrah that Florent planted in 2020, from which he harvested the first crop in 2023.  


Florent is young and energetic, and very committed to his appellation.   I think he will go far and I look forward to tasting future vintages. For the moment he wants to stay small and is enjoying the independence from the cooperative, which, as he put it,  makes for more varied metier.  He is clearly taking pride in his bottles.




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