Hecht & Bannier
Syrah •Appelation Faugeres Controlee
What we say
TOP SECRET ALERT: The Wine Spies were able to acquire a few additional cases of this unbelievable and rare wine value. This South of France (Languedoc-Roussillon) gem is a full, rich and round beauty that is nearly impossible to find in the US. If you love California Syrahs you must try this Old World Syrah!
Use the promotion code SPYNOW to get free ground shipping on orders of six or more.
Agent White disagreed with Red and made this his top Syrah choice of 2007!
Mission Codename: The Languedoc Identity
Operative: Agent Blush
Mission Status: Operative under deep cover – Ongoing
Current Winery: Hecht and Bannier
Wine Subject: 2003 Faugeres (Syrah and Mourvedre)
Hecht and Bannier’s (H & B) is the brain child of wine guru’s Gregory Hecht and François Bannier who regularly release some of the finest wines of South-West France. The award winning and highly rated 2003 Faugeres is a red blend of primarily Syrah and Mourvedre. This is a rare wine worthy of both drinking now and setting down as it is expected to mature through 2009.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Thick and dark purple with a lovely pink-garnet rim with full and long legs.
Smell – Earthly and full, mildly fruit forward with a mild hint of tobacco and spice.
Feel – Velvety smooth with easy tannins that evolve throughout your mouth.
Taste – Full bodied, fruit-forward, but not over powering with blackberries and tart cherries, smooth minerality, slightly tannic with a hint of truffles, tobacco and spice.
Finish – A great long and complex finish that lingers with you for several minutes.
Conclusion – This is an exceptional wine, smooth and rich, complex and well integrated. 2003 was a great year in the Languedoc and Roussillon with the wines being not yet at their peak, but I can’t imaging how much better this wine could get. It is truly a gem and gets an enthusiastic cheers from The Wine Spies.
The Faugeres AOC is among the most overlooked appellations in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Its obscurity is probably due to the fact that the region was previously known for eau-de-vie and fortified Muscat. The hillside vineyards in Faugeres are known for producing rustic wines of deep color and exceptional flavor.
Mission Report (STATUS ONGOING):
After sending months analyzing incoming reports from the field and, of course in infamous North Korean incident, Agent Blush yearned to get back in the field. Not being satisfied with a simple mission, Blush wanted to go under deep cover to infiltrate the wine geniuses of Gregory Hecht and François Bannier in Languedoc Roussillon (South).
What follows is a partial TOP SECRET briefing as this covert mission is still ongoing.
Hecht and Bannier’s (H & B) expertise is focused in the Languedoc and Roussillon region. They work with over 350 vineyards and cooperatives in the area to find only the best grapes, building some of the finest blends that are carefully and skillfully matured and aging their product resulting in indisputably some of the best and most consistent wine available.
Each wine bottles is fully representative of the region and terroir serving as the benchmark that other wines are measured against.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The Syrah and Mourvedre grapes for this wine are grown in the Faugeres AOC in the Languedoc, and specifically in the following vineyards: Autignac ; Laurens ; Faugères ; Fos ; La Liquière
The Faugeres region and surrounding environs can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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Awards and Accolades:
89 Wine Spectator: Ripe, rich and full bodied, with a fat vein of blackberry, plum, smoke and spice flavors, with touches of cream as well. Balanced and firm with and intense, tannic finish of bittersweet chocolate. Drink now through 2009. – KM
About This Wine:
Faugeres 2003: Concentrated and mineral – The Syrah has attained exceptional ripeness and is very well balanced due to magnificent tannins of the fine Mourvèdre, allied with minerality, most characteristic of the slate hills of Faugeres.
The blend: The Faugeres 2003 is the unique meeting of sumptuous Syrah reaching exceptional maturity in a powerful and remarkable vintage. The balance is again reached thanks to a minerality unique to the great terroir of schist avoiding thereby the trap of over-ripeness so frequently encountered in 2003.
About Hecht & Bannier:
In Southern France, bordering the Mediterranean Sea extends the largest and most ancient vineyard in France: the Languedoc-Roussillon. It is from this region that we select in each and every terroir or appellation the finest wines. When it comes to maturing our wines in barrel over 20 months, we use mostly the Medi Muids, being the traditional Languedoc barrel of 600 liters. To conserve the typical Mediterranean strength in our wines, while preserving balance and crispness was our mantra in the five wines we have made in 2003. Minervois, Cotes du Roussillon Villages, Saint Chinian, Coteuax du Ranguedoc and Faugeres.
Effectively in our selection tastings we were also surprised and impressed by the quality of certain Mourvedre particularly adapted to a long Indian summer. The growers who had the patience and the nerves to wait for the complete phenolic maturity were able to propose magnificent Syrah and Mourvedre, coupled with a depth and richness of tannin that is quite rare. Such is, these two varietals exclusively compose our blend and we did not hesitate to age a part in new oak barrels, notably in demi muids. As for the two previous vintages the Faugeres from H & B 2003 is built for a long ageing and should rejoice the amateur of full juicy wines, developing a rich complexity over time in the bottle.
Technical Wine Analysis:
Appellation: Faugeres AOC
Blend: Mainly Syrah, Mourvèdre.
10 % tank
30 % demi-muids; new and one year old wood
30 % barrels of 300 liters; two year old wood
30 % barrels of 225 liters; new and one year old wood
Sources: Autignac, Laurens, Faugères, Fos, La Liquière
Varietals: mainly Syrah, Mourvèdre.
Bottled: July 2005