AOC Fitou: Twelve talented ambassadors
Fitou excels at promoting the diversity of terroirs, between sea and mountain, this appellation dedicated to reds and the king of grapes, the Carignan. This year, the selection of the twelve 2018 Fitou Ambassador vintages showcases talent and creativity: An equal contest between the wines from the Fitou Maritime and the Fitou Mountain regions.
Created in 1948 as the first protected designation of origin for Languedoc red wines, Fitou won admirers through the duality of its vineyards located in two distinct zones of influence: The maritime Corbières and the high altitudes. It is expressed in its soils, rich in slate and clay-limestone pebbles at the sea side, mainly shale up in the mountains, and gives the tempo of a creativity in dual mode that allows the appellation's principal grape, the Carignan (its proportion must be greater than or equal to 20% of the blend), to express its full potential over the years.
The 2018 selection of Fitou Ambassadors takes on a special significance by equitably naming, among the twelve vintages chosen by a blind jury of wine professionals, six Fitou maritime and six Fitou mountain region wines.
"The appellation has a common thread, the Carignan, which at low yields (average of 25 hectolitres/hectare) and from vineyards still mostly planted in old vines (from 60 to 100 years old), gives all its personality to the vintage. With the Carignan, wine growers can express their creativity by revealing the potential of these two emblematic terroirs. It is precisely this diversity that attracts consumers", explains Laetitia Buron, of Atout-Terroir, a wine tasting expert and member of the 2018 Ambassadors Prize panel.
Along the Fitou coastline, slate and clay-limestone soils deliver wines with lower aromatic concentrations, but which are characterised by their finesse and elegance. Up in the Fitou mountains, the opposite is true: Aromatic complexity and the pure expression of the mineral density of the shale take precedence, with more expressive and more intense Carignan grapes subjected to water shortages from these poorer soils and dry climate.
Prized for this duality, Fitou winemakers in the pursuit of quality express their creativity through two schools: That of modernity, with wine profiles focusing on fruitiness and drinkability, for easy consumption; while the more traditional ones have wines aged in barrels, in depth and density, suitable for long ageing.
"The 2018 selection dusts off the image of Fitou, once viewed as very full-bodied wines only for accompanying dishes like cassoulet or wild boar stew,” summarised Alban Izard, a winemaker of Domaine Lerys. “Today, the appellation's range of wines is extremely varied, there is one to suit all palates with bottles that certainly have character but are fine, elegant... And more and more vintages are favouring the fruit and the crisp, proof of a dynamic vineyard, keeping up with the trends."
These twelve Fitou appellation Ambassador vintages will be presented in the form of a "travel passport" in tourist offices and at wine sellers to encourage travel and the discovery of this dynamic wine.
Press contact: Sarah Hargreaves
In The Mood to Discover - Press Relations Agency
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