Château de Fargues 2014: A year full of anxiety for winegrowers, saved by an exceptionally warm Indian summer.
François Amirault, Production Manager, Château de Fargues
Winter was very mild – there was not a single day with frost – as well as very wet: nearly 500 mm of rain between November and February. Storms and high tides ravaged the coast, and the Garonne burst its banks on the 26th of January.
After the usual spring showers in March, bud break occurred starting on the 20th of that month. However, cold nights in late April transformed the inflorescence of some bunches into tendrils.
There were alternating cool and stormy periods in May, and flowering began on the 25th between showers and sunny spells. Mid-flowering took place in early June, followed by summer-like weather with stormy intervals. The vines grew quickly and it looked as though it would be an early harvest. However, this was not to be, since summer weather simply did not appear.
A few grapes became overheated due to extremely hot temperatures on the 16th and 17th of July. The 104 mm of rain that fell month, and especially hail on the 25th, caused considerable damage. Cold, wet weather in August made us doubt that the grapes would ever ripen properly.
While we were not troubled by mildew this year, another pest gave rise to considerable worry in mid-August: vinegar flies that cause sour rot. The hope for a large crop, after two years of very low yields, lessened with each passing day.
With an average maximum temperature of 27°4 and not a drop of rain, September weather enabled the grapes to ripen perfectly and stopped the proliferation of vinegar flies. A first “tidying-up pass” in mid-September removed grapes affected by sour rot, but brought in only a very small amount of fruit. After some much-welcome rain from the 6th to the 16th of October, accompanied by temperatures 4°C greater than average, noble rot spread with lightning-quick speed. The beautiful, warm, sunny days with south and south-easterly winds were ideal for picking grapes in prime condition. One pass followed another, non-stop, from the 20th to the 30th of October. The crop was small, but the must filled the cellar with magnificent fruity aromas.
After removing over half of all bunches due to the presence of sour rot, yields amounted to just 5 hectolitres per hectare. The new wine was put into barrels (40% new). Conditions in October were ideal for noble rot. The grapes retained good acidity and botrytis produced very pure and particularly fresh flavours. This crop of barely fifty barrels of wine features great aromatic complexity as well as the vivacious fruitiness typical of the most elegant vintages at Château de Fargues.
SCORES AND TASTING COMMENTS
« Derrière l’ananas presque rôti, suit une note de citron plus confit que frais. La puissance de Fargues parle, sa force prend toute la bouche par sa persistance. « Un vin peu muté en 50 », d’après Alexandre de Lur Saluces. Il offre la race et la no- blesse des grands millésimes.
RVF, R. Pétronio- avril 2015.
« Offers a lovely feel, with creamed peach, apricot and ginger notes, laced with al- mond and heather accents, leading to a long finish of hazelnut and singed orange. Extremely backward right now, but exhibits amazing depth and length already ». Winespectator.com, J. Molesworth – mars 2015
« The Château de Fargues 2014 has an opulent, rounded and powerful bouquet that delivers a payload of botrytized fruit that is precise, upholding the de Fargues style, hints of mandarin and clementine developing in the glass. The palate has a huge weight in the mouth : a fine line of acidity with layers of clear honey, marmalade and a dash of ginger on the finish. This represents an immensely pure Château de Fargues with enormous length and intensity. Superb».
RobertParker.com, N. Martin – mars 2015
« Outstanding. Château de Fargues, Sauternes. Intense pineapple and honeycomb on the nose with loads of marmaladey botrytis. Rich but suave in the typical Lur Saluces style, with caramel apple and grilled mango flavours finishing long and thick. Not overly sweet thanks to searing acidity ».
Decanter, I. d’Agata – juin 2015