Domaine Jean-Michel Alquier

The charismatic Jean-Michel Alquier represents the fifth generation of this, the top property in the French wine region of Faugères. Faugères was lucky enough to break away from the heterogeneous Coteaux du Languedoc umbrella wine appellation as far back as 1982, although some may say that it has yet to perform strongly on the export market. Given the forceful personality of M Alquier, allied to the eloquence of his wines, one would be unwise to nominate anyone else to be an ambassador for the region.

The Faugères soil is dominated by grey schist, friable schist apparently, if that is not oxymoronic. The resulting wines, where vines are old and yields are low, as here, can be rich, savoury and take on complex gamey notes with maturity. Located just to the north-east of Beziers, Faugères deserves more attention.

The significance of the eponymous yellow house 'Maison Jaune' is not entirely clear. What is clear is that their 'Maison Jaune' is a prestige cuvée, made up of 80% old vine Grenache and aged for 14 months in barriqus, 10% of which are new. Les Bastides is the most modern of the Alquier family cuvees, dominated by Syrah (80% plays 20% Grenache) and aged in 40% new wood

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