Score: 96+/100 points
The ‘Collection’ cuvée by Languedoc winery Mas des Capitelles is, as told by the producer “a reflection of our knowledge and experience governed by high standards, patience and rarity.” In one word, collection is their ‘flagship’ wine.
Mas des Capitelles’ collection series began with the 2007 vintage. But because it is only produced in “exceptional years”, the 2011 vintage reviewed here is only the second label in the series, hence its name Collection N°2.
Harvested by hand, it was fermented traditionally for the Mourvèdre and Syrah, while the Carignan was fermented using carbonic maceration (the typical winemaking technique of Beaujolais Nouveau, but also rather common on Languedoc’s Carignan to extract the fruity elements of the grape).
With an extended maceration of skins after fermentation for over 30 days, the wine was then aged in French oak barrels for 24 months, before further maturation in vats of about 6 months.
Unfiltered before bottling, with a minimum use of sulfites (SO2), it is intended to showcase the best of what Mas des Capitelles winery can make.
Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
Certainly, a Languedoc red wine with an immensely intense and dark red color. It is so black to the core you cannot see through, while the rim boasts intense bright red, mixed with purple hues. Looking youthful and proud!
The aromatic profile transpires with Languedoc elegance, with delicate herbal scents of garrigue, the thyme and the rosemary that instantly transport you to the South of France.
They come though, with powerful aromas of ripe blackberry and fresh cherry, touches of cassis, making for a wine that sings with juicy fresh berry notes.
Add a subtle feel of earthiness to the nose, and you can easily sense, just by smelling it, that this is a very powerful wine yet one that only means smoothness and finesse of delivery to your senses in its expression.
Take a small first sip, and the wine finishes convincing you it only means good things to your tasting experience.
The smoothness of its tannins coats your taste buds in a deep ocean of a silky texture, while a myriad of complex and layered flavors lets you wonder which aspect of the wine is your favorite.
Is it the controlled fruity expression of dark, subtly jammy cherries and blackberries?
Is it the abundance of dark yet sweet cocoa, combined with intense dark-roasted coffee?
Much like a Grand Cru coffee or chocolate, you’re satisfied by the Collection N°3 Faugères with the pleasing sensation that it’s powerfully filled with notes of torrefaction, but still smooth and mild to your senses, never too bitter or savory.
Or is it the feeling that you are experiencing a wine genuine to its Languedoc schist terroir, combining a sense of clayey earthiness with the lifted spicy impression of being having a walk on a hill covered in aromatic herbs by the Mediterranean coast?
It’s impossible to decide which side of the wine might be the most impressive, because what’s striking is how composed and balanced the whole tastes.
For an utterly-concentrated red from the South of France, the expression is simply so controlled, no flavor overpowering the others, the coating oily texture letting a good acidity shiny, while very fine tannins combine the whole harmoniously, that you can’t help but feel satisfied.
As I’m writing those words I’m thinking: “perhaps this is, and I think this might be: the best Languedoc wine I’ve ever tasted!”.
Certainly, a masterpiece of winemaking. Or is it a masterpiece crafted by the old vines and the terroir they’ve learnt to love?
As always, most probably this is ‘simply’ the right combination of knowledgeable and dedicated people, striving vines, and a unique vineyard site. As well as perhaps the perfect vintage?
As we know, Collection cuvée by Mas des Capitelles is only made when its makers consider the vintage has been up to their expectations or higher. The last vintage Collection N°3 was 4 years prior, vintage 2011. So yes, the vintage probably played its part, but not only…
When to drink?
Well, 2015 Mas des Capitelles Collection N°3 Faugères is so pleasing to drink now. If you’ve read this far, how could I say otherwise?
Yet, this is obviously a wine meant to be collected, set aside for History almost. It certainly has some serious ageing potential.
Wine is for drinking though, and if you do like some freshness to the fruit expression still left in there, give it another 3 to 5 years, and up to 15 to grasp more of its built-in longevity.
Drink 2022-2035 then…