WSI94 Mid-purple in color with a garnet rim, Esquisse emits aromas of sun-soaked blackberries and blueberries tinged with cracked black pepper and fresh earth. On the palate, the wine has energy and focus, wrapped in smooth, satin-like tannins that wonderfully frame the wine as it flows over your tongue. It is positively bursting at the seams with dark berry fruit flavors complimented by subtle notes of spice and earth. The finish is inviting and invigorating, showcasing exceptional length and concentration. Easy and refined, Esquisse is a textbook example of Crozes-Hermitage, as well as one of the best values you can find of Syrah in the Northern Rhône.
Domaine des Hauts Chassis is owned by the very lovable and funny Frank Faugier.
Franck Faugier took over his family vineyards in 1998, shortly thereafter founding Domaine des Hauts Châssis in 2003. He is the fourth generation of his family to tend to their vines in the commune of La Roche-de-Glun in Crozes-Hermitage, however all the previous generation sold their grapes to either Paul Jaboulet Aîne or the Tain Cooperative. Franck’s 12 hectares of Syrah vines are on the stony, red-clay and sandy soils of Les Châssis — one of the most prized plots of land in all of Crozes-Hermitage — with three hectares planted in the 1930’s and another four planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He works his vines as naturally as possible, utilizing Biodynamic farming methods to ensure the health of his soil and plants. From these stony soils, Franck is able to craft expressive, juicy Syrah that drinks with fabulous freshness, complexity and fruit intensity. His oldest vines are between 60-70 years old.
In Lyon, carafes of Crozes-Hermitage are available in many of the restaurants for only 7 Euros. Cheerful and easy to drink, these wines sum up many people’s perceptions of the appellation. However, there are a growing number of producers who make serious Syrah that is exceptional, many from areas like Les Châssis. Franck Faugier has become a leading member of that group, and his Esquisse is a shining example of the richness and depth of these wines.