Mas Foulaquier is a Pic Saint-Loup grower that had - until a few years ago - flown completely under my radar. Winemaker Pierre Jéquier, a native of Switzerland and formerly an architect, created Mas Foulaquier in 1998, following an exhaustive search for his dream wine estate. Situated in the most northerly corner of Languedoc's most northerly appellation, the eight hectares of existing vines were at the time just 8 years old, but happened to be planted on some great terroir. Now, at 25 years of age, those vines are the source of a quite brilliant set of wines. Pierre's wife and fellow winemaker Blandine Chauchet joined the team in 2003, bringing with her the ownership of a further 3 hectares of 50 year-old Grenache and Carignan vines in the "Tonillieres" vineyard in Claret.
I first met Pierre in February 2010, at a small tasting event held in Béziers, and I was totally blown away by the quality of his wines. Their amazingly clean structure and the purity of the fruit was what struck me. It was only later, when looking at the Mas Foulaquier website, that I discovered that the wines are actually biodynamic.
So, is the quality down to biodynamic farming practices, or is is simply a testament to brilliant winemaking? To be honest, in my experience, the two are often inextricably linked. Whether you believe in biodynamics or not (extreme organics, or just wacky mumbo-jumbo?) those very principles go pretty much hand-in-hand with a love for the land and a fastidious approach to winemaking. The wines are also as natural as can be - no sulphites or added yeasts are used in the winemaking process and only the tiniest amount of SO2 (between 10 and 30 mg) is added at the bottling stage. The wines are also unfined and unfiltered.
I should mention, of course, that these wines possess a great deal of Pic Saint-Loup "typicity", albeit at a level of consistency I have rarely encountered before - and there is some serious competition in the appellation, believe me. In a nutshell, these wines are right up there with some of the best we have tasted from anywhere in Languedoc and Roussillon.
Our most recent visit to Mas Foulaquier was in June 2013, during which we were treated to a delicious lunch of cold meats, local goat's cheese, olive oil and bread, to accompany a tasting of the full range of the estate's wines.
And do you know what? From an already extremely high level of quality, their current vintages have raised the bar even higher, for this was one of the finest selections of wines from a single grower we have ever had the privilege of tasting. And if you have any sort of claim to be a lover of Languedoc's finest wines, then you simply must try them.