Les Vignobles Foncalieu
85% SYRAH, 15% GRENACHE
Château Michel Cazevieille Origine 1922
Les Vignobles Foncalieu are a cooperative of winegrowers that produce a magnificent range of terrior wines thanks to their meticulous selection of the very best vine plots.
Their technical teams include international talents who revel in this mosaic of terroirs. Michel Servage and the 1,200 wine growing estate owners produce upmarket wines of excellent quality. Foncalieu has also committed to organic agriculture. It is a choice which requires more work and greater investment, to produce lower per-hectare yields. But it is a source of great pride for them to be able to offer consumers wines sprung from soils which are healthier and more alive than ever before. Recommended to pair with classic combinations such as rabbit, duck, roasted chicken and broiled vegetables.
Michel Cazevieille opens quickly and is ready to drink right away although the wine can improve in the bottle for years. It has fresh, red berry aromatics and fine acidity that is distinctly separated from the tannins and fruit.
This estate of 22 hectares in Cazedarnes is composed of hillside and plateau vineyards on chalk and clay with a pebbly surface layer and scree on the slopes. These vineyards are planted 50% to syrah, 30% to grenache & 20% to carignan. All the vines are trained in Cordon Royat with 7 to 9 bunches per vines and an average yield of about 40 hectoliters per hectare. The growing season is usually quite dry and hot and there is little need for pesticides and fungicides although in some areas there is regular tilling to keep the amount of grass between the rows to a minimum.
Throughout the vineyards there is limestone and clay soils. Sauvignon Blanc is sensitive and expresses limestone well in its flavors such as it does in Sancerre. Even though they specifically plant Sauvignon in hard limestone soils to achieve a mineral nuance to the naturally very ripe fruit profile, other factors in the regions are perhaps more influential to the profile than the soil. Here wind and moisture are big factors in the quality. The wind direction is usually Atlantic and quite cool, bringing recipitation from Bordeaux across the south of France. In their other major growing area between Narbonne & Beziers, the Mediterranean winds that blow onto St. Chinian are dry, hot and and much less influential.
All the vineyards are harvested by machine with a debris separator that gives us perfectly de-stemmed berries with no unripe fruit eliminating the need for a de-stemmer and a manual sorting table. The wines are traditionally vinified in glass lined concrete tanks and stainless steel. About half of the assembled blend is aged in new and used oak for 10-12 months then reassembled for storage in stainless before bottling.