A notable success in an unusually precocious vintage
The 2011 vintage was characterized by a particularly hot, dry spring, early and rapid flowering, an unusually long summer lasting from April to September, and a magical late autumn, with warm, dry conditions.
A summer-like spring
A dry, cool winter, lacking a really cold spell, gave way to a period of warmer weather and water deficit in April (no rainfall exceeding 5mm before the end of June), with temperatures 4°C higher on average compared with the previous years. Bud break started at the beginning of April and the first leaves appeared in mid-April. The earliness of flowering, concentrated around 20 May, was unprecedented.
There were summer temperatures from springtime onwards, reaching 39°C on 26 and 27 June. Fortunately, a cautious approach was adopted, omitting leaf thinning in order to shield the fruit so as to avoid or limit the effects of “scorching” on the grapes.
A normal summer
The temperatures in July and August, through to mid-September, were close to the seasonal norm. Ripening also began very early, at the end of June, though the start was slow because of the water deficit; rainfall in the second half of July accelerated the colouration of the fruit, with ripening completed by 10 August.
Late autumn brings Indian summer
The rainfall in late August/early September might have weakened the skins had it not been for an anticyclone which settled in for a period in mid-September. This created conditions favourable to complete ripening of the three varieties planted at Château Faugères.
Harvesting got underway around mid-September, on average some 12 days earlier than in 2010, and continued in sunny conditions until 4 October. As at Château Péby Faugères, the use of optical sorting equipment made it possible to select only the grapes which had reached perfect ripeness. Yields of the 2011 vintage of Château Faugères were around 35 hl/ha.
Characteristics of the wines
The 2011 vintage has high phenolic concentrations and is very rich in anthocyanin, with abundant, readily extracted tannins from the skins and seeds. The level of alcohol is around 13°. Acidity levels, as in 2010, are high, producing a pleasing freshness on the palate and perfect balance.
The wines are very aromatic, with notes of red berries, hints of menthol and liquorice, and a quite distinct minerality.