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Saturday, 23 April 2022

Two Languedoc Whites from Foncalieu

Two vibrant and refreshing Languedoc whites from Foncalieu

Foncalieu make lovely, inexpensive wines in France's Languedoc with as much attention to detail to the presentation as there is in the winemaking.

These two wines are no exception.

I have tasted earlier vintages of the Iberian-grape-in-France, Albariño Sillages, and worked my way through the Versant range with the rosé (which I liked a lot) and a Pinot (which I thought was OK, but nothing special).

Before the wines themselves. first a bit of history from the company's website


Les Vignobles Foncalieu are a union of cooperatives anchored in the heart of Languedoc.

Our territory stretches from the Corbières massif to the banks of the Mediterranean, from the Mistral- swept hillsides to the sun-caressed plains between Carcassonne and Béziers. It is in the heart of these landscapes, situated between ocean and mountains, that all our wine- growers tend to our 4,000 hectares of vines every day in order to offer

Foncalieu the high-quality grapes used to produce exceptional wines.

A cooperative with strong values since 1967, our 650 winegrowers cultivate team spirit, authenticity, innovation and a shared passion, all of which have led Foncalieu to be named as one of the 50 most well-known brands of wine in the world by the trade magazine Drinks International in 2017.

Les Vignobles Foncalieu stretch across 4,000 hectares between the Cité de Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This vast territory characterised by a mosaic of terroirs and denominations has enabled the development of a wide range of wines, most of which are labelled PDO and PGI of Languedoc.

The largest and oldest wine-making region in the world is also a land of culture, art and gastronomy, characterised by mild winters and hot summers. Its multitude of terroirs swept by the Tramontane and the sea wind stretches from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, offering a wide palette of grape varieties from Carignan to Malbec, and Roussanne to Sauvignon.

The colour, nose and mouthfeel of a Languedoc vary considerably according to its terroir, the varieties used in the blend, the yields practised, the quality of the soil and the climate of the preceding year. By mastering our terroir and selecting plots that we believe extraordinary, we produce fine Languedoc wines, including the Atelier Prestige collection and the Château Haut-Gléon wines labelled PDO Corbières and PGI Vallée du Paradis owned by Foncalieu since 2012.

We owe our know-how to all these people, who, thanks to their attentiveness and human qualities, have been developing Foncalieu for more than 50 years and have demonstrated their wine-growing spirit. 

From generation to generation, our passion for the vine remains strong. Passing on this passion to the younger generations is at the heart of our concerns so that our wonderful territories endure. The strength of Vignobles Foncalieu lies in the combination of skills brought by all our wine-growers and the various French and international specialist centres.

And so, our teams of agronomists and oenologists work hand in hand with the wine-growers to unveil the potential of each terroir in order to express the immense diversity of wine-growing identities. Enhancing the best plots, mastering the wine cellar and orchestrating the most wonderful blend ensures a noble quality, from the vine to the glass.

This work, aided by cutting-edge technology, is first and foremost a matter of talent. Our many expressions have been rewarded by a host of medals and distinctions and also recognised by the greatest international wine tasters such as Robert Parker.

Foncalieu Pays d'Oc Extraordinaires Sillages Albariño 2021 (£8 - £10, indpendents)

pear drops, citrus, sea-spray and lemon curd; stone fruits, honeysuckle and beeswax with sweet spices and some southern warmth. Saline, mineral and elegant.

Drinks nicely on first pouring; will repay a few more months' bottle age.


Fresh enough for an aperitif, it will work with a range of starters, such as seafood, white fish and pork rillettes.

Foncalieu Pays d'Oc, Le Versant Sauvignon Bio 2021 (£11, Hennings)

herbaceous, aromatic with lime and kiwi with orchard fruits and exotic passionfruit; fresh and mineral with citrus, lemongrass, blackcurrant leaf and minerality.

Drinks nicely on first pouring; will repay a few more months' bottle age.


Match with grilled fish with lemon, sushi or asparagus gratin.

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