This small appellation, north-east of Béziers, was granted AC status in 1982, three years before the ennoblement of its “host” appellation, AC Coteaux du Languedoc, but its viticultural potential had already been recognised by the Romans. What makes this spot special is its soil, a poor, friable schist which promotes excellent drainage, retains heat and keeps yields naturally low. This, and the compactness of the appellation has helped to define the Faugères style – meaty and voluptuous, but focused and quite elegant – as distinct from that of neighbouring Saint-Chinian, for example, or other Coteaux du Languedoc reds which spring from a mish-mash of different terroirs. Jean-Michel Alquier is one of its leading exponents. One of the first growers hereabouts to bottle under his own label, he makes a number of cuvées which we regularly list. Domaine Saint-Antonin is an inexpensive overview of the Alquier magic, ripe and lush, brimming with brambly fruit. A few more pounds will secure La Maison Jaune, a reserve bottling made from half grenache, with syrah and mourvèdre. Les Bastides is the top cuvée, a dark, rich, spicy-laden blend of low-yielding syrah (60%) and grenache (40%) from a tiny plot, aged for 18 months in oak barrels, a third of them new. A deeply satisfying wine, this needs decanting to show it at its best.
Suggested Food Match
Steak and Kidney Pie; Lancashire Hotpot; Bean and Vegetable Chilli; other suggestions...
This is one of the historic properties in Faugères and one of the first to bottle its own wine. Alquier was also among the first to plant syrah in a big way and it is this grape variety that forms the major part in blends.
At the death of the father, the estate eventually split in two. The Society follows Jean-Michel and his wife Véronique who, over the least twenty years, have worked tirelessly to create one of the very best estates in the Languedoc.