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Domaine Faillenc - Sainte Marie 2019

 Remains of a Roman winery have been found at the site of the Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, a testament to the ancient tradition of winegrowing at that location, but the domaine, in its present form at least, was founded during the reign of Louis XIV by an officer returning from service on the Indian subcontinent. Situated just outside of the tiny village of Douzens, a mere 12 kilometers east of the ancient walled city of Carcassonne in the Languedoc’ Corbières district, Faillenc Sainte Marie is a small property, with only 8 ha of vineyards stubbornly clinging to the rocky foothills of Mont Alaric and buffeted by the harsh and drying Tramontane and Autan winds. The terroir is composed of inhospitable, rocky limestone terraces, with only vines, olive trees, and some scraggly brush able to survive. Syrah, Grenache Noir, and Cinsault are the red grape varieties raised here, with 1 ha devoted to white grapes: Roussanne, Macabeu, Bourboulenc and Clairette. I had the good fortune of discovering this delightful family in 1991 when I drank a bottle of their wine while dining with Olivier Jullien (Mas Jullien) in Saint Guiraud, about an hour from the Faillenc. I barely waited for dinner to conclude before calling the Giberts to set up an appointment the following morning, and we have been happily working together ever since. Jean-Baptiste, son of Dominique and Marie-Thérèse, has now taken command of the domaine and has converted to organics and continued his parent’s legacy of wines loyal to their native, wild terroir.  ......Rosenthal