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Collecting with Kev: Domaine Faury

Kevin Peterson

I met Lionel Faury when he was touring the US with a small party of winemakers from the south of France. He was soft-spoken and timid, hesitant to discuss his wines in broken English with group after group of eager strangers. His large, broad frame reminded me of the build of a farmer from the American Midwest more so than that of a Frenchman. He was boyish and crude and altogether charming. The same could be said for his wines.

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Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes was the first wine to draw me into the big, burly reds of France’s Northern Rhône Valley. The exterior was broad and dark and muscular, leading seamlessly to weighty black fruit and the notes of spice cake that are so often associated with syrah from this part of the world. But there was more to the wine than I could appreciate at first contact. It continued to build, developing layers of floral aromatics, mineral undertones, and animated ripeness. It blew my mind that a wine that was at first so intimidatingly large could open up into something soft and nuanced, without losing any of its initial vigor.

Lionel works the steep slopes of his south-southeast facing vineyards with his father Philippe, who founded Domaine Faury in 1979. The oldest vines for the St.-Joseph VV were planted in 1937 into granite soils. The grapes are hand-harvested and 70-80% are de-stemmed before maceration, which helps to explain the soft underbelly of the wine. After 15-20 days of fermentation, the juice is aged for 15 months in 600L demi-muids and 220L barrels. As the Faurys have an aversion to new oak, there is very little used in the aging process.


It blew my mind that a wine so intimidatingly large could open up into something soft and nuanced, without losing any of its initial vigor.


The ripe and lively quality of the Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes contributes youthfulness that is a pleasure to enjoy young. Its rustic side and incredible depth will drink in perfect harmony 5-10 years down the road. The two factors make for ideal collecting material. Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes is the type of wine of which it’s worth purchasing a case or two, so that you can snatch a bottle from the cellar every six months over the next decade. Right now we’re making that easy for you, as we’ve marked the price down from $40 to $30 a bottle.

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In addition to the Vieilles Vignes, we also brought in Domaine Faury Syrah and Saint-Joseph Blanc. The “Syrah” is an everyday table wine, simple compared to his older brother, yet a delight all the same. The Saint-Joseph Blanc, however, could stand several years of aging. Much rarer than the big reds from the Northern Rhône, the blanc is a blend of marsanne and roussanne, aged ten months on the lees in used French oak and stainless steel. If you’re searching for a companion piece to the VV, look no further. With rich notes of honey and baked apple, it’s the prefect bottle to pull out for a holiday meal over the next 5-6 years.

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Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes
Saint-Joseph, Rhône Valley, France
Syrah
$30 (marked down from $40)

Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph Blanc
Saint-Joseph, Rhône Valley, France
Marsanne, Roussanne
$25 (marked down from $35)

Domaine Faury Syrah
Rhône Valley, France
Syrah
$18 (marked down from $23)