Château de Fargues: Tasting & Drinking

Before meeting the wines of Château de Fargues for the first time I must confess I knew nothing of the property at all. Unlike other illustrious properties such as Yquem, I imagine most who have the good fortune to taste or drink the wine know something of the estate before the liquid ever nears their lips. But Château de Fargues was very much off my radar, an omission perhaps compounded by its absence from the classification drawn up in 1855, decades before the Sauternes vineyard was even established on the property. But looking back over my notes for recent vintages, this is a mistake I would not like others to make. The wines, each time tasted in a line up of their peers, seem to perform consistently well. They are rich, well flavoured and characterful.

Being in the ownership of the Lur-Saluces family no doubt invites comparisons with Yquem, although this initially seems unfair; after all, surely no estate can truly shine against such a neighbour? Nevertheless, the prices of these wines perhaps demand such a comparison; these are not inexpensive bottles. And some authors, such as Stephen Brook writing in Sauternes (Faber & Faber, 1995), report that on occasion the wines of Château de Fargues can seem superior to those of its illustrious one-time stablemate. But looking beyond this, taking the wines in the context of the other leading estates of the region, these wines do indeed stand up very well against their peers. And for a vineyard that didn’t even exist before the 1930s, and is planted on soils which have a less than favourable sandy consistency in places, that is surely the most remarkable achievement. (12/11/08, updated 15/6/12)

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