Les Vignobles Foncalieu
Les Roucas Merlot
The merlot vineyards have limestone and clay soils located throughout the eastern Aude and western Hérault departments known for their diverse climates, relatively arid temperatures and rough terrain. But the wind direction in Puichéric (Aude) is usually Atlantic and quite cooler, bringing with it much more precipitation than the Mediterranean winds that blow over Beziers (Hérault) and onto St. Chinian. With the soft tannins, the wine goes great with almost anything from pizza to steak.
The house style is simple: round, fresh, clean, dark and approachable 6 months after the harvest. The Merlot has very generous fruit and a weighty mouthfeel with primary aromas of red fruit in the nose.
Foncalieu has 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 us to be able to offer consumers wines sprung from soils which are healthier and more alive than ever before. Traditionally, Merlot vines grow in limestone and clay soils, often mixed with scree or a rocky layer over the clay. Merlot needs a lot of water and sunshine to fully ripen and this mix of clay and toprock holds the water well.
Merlot is harvested between 50 and 75 hl./ha. depending on the vineyard capacity and the rainfall. With heat, they do a lot of work in the vineyards to keep the sugar levels down and to harvest as late as possible. This gives a fruit profile conducive to creating ready to drink wines. To diminish the tannins and create round, less structured wines with great color, they thermo-vinify about 70% of the production. This process of heating the berries and breaking down the skins and pulp allow them to skip the entire maceration stage and go to fermentation in just a day. The other 30% is traditionally macerated for about 2 weeks and is then sent to fermentation. In the thermo, they get great color but lose almost all the tannins and some aromatic components. The part that they traditionally vinify replaces the lost elements governs the aromatic profile