There are two distinct zones for producing Fitou, bisected by a tranche of Corbières. The wines from the hillside sites tend to have more concentration and longevity and the wines grown at lower altitude are often more forward-drinking and accessible when young. The Fitou featured here is unashamedly from hillsides around the village of Tuchan and was made by Jean-Marc Astruc who grew up there. It is made from a traditional blend of old-vine Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah in roughly equal volumes that are destemmed before being fermented in stainless-steel vats. The finished wine has dark hedgerow berry aromas, a core of black fruit, undertones of pepper, spices and fine-grained tannins. It can partner small game and can happily support 3 to 7 years bottle age.
We were saddened to learn of Jean-Marc's untimely death in September last year after a short illness. Our thoughts are with his Welsh wife and fellow winemaker Katie Jones with whom he enjoyed the countryside of Southern France and life in the cellar and home.