Les Bancels vineyard

Domaine de Cébène

VigneronBrigitte Chevalier
LocationFaugères (Hérault)
Size of Domaine11 ha
TerroirMediterranean climate. Schist from the Carboniferous. Coteaux and terraces. Various expositions, 200-300m altitude.
ViticultureCertified organic (Ecocert)
View Domaine de Cébène wines ↓

In 2006, well-known oenologist Brigitte Chevalier purchased 4ha of gnarled old vines - half in the Faugères appellation and half near Corneilhan, north of Béziers. Faugères is renowned for its thin soils developed on underlying schist, here evident in brittle, thin layers, with lots of iron.

Brigitte's Faugères vines (for the cuvée les Bancels) come from a terraced north-facing hillside (320m altitude) for the syrah and grenache, and due south-facing plot for the mourvèdre. She also saved a parcel of 100yo vine carignan from being grubbed up from a north-facing terroir from where she produces Belle Lurette. Her third cuvée, the IGP Ex Arena is grown on Villefranchian soil (marine sediment and alluvial deposits of stones, pebbles, red sand and gravel) in Corneilhan, just 20km from the Mediterranée.

She now farms 11ha, working with very low yields of around 20hh, harvesting by hand, using different percentages of whole bunches for each fermentation, extracting gently and ageing in cement vats. Brigitte succinctly states her philosophy, “I want to make vin du nord in the south”.

Brigitte Chevalier
Carignan old vines
02_Vine_Trail_Domaine_de_Cebene_5_3 Schist and roots

Domaine de Cébène Wines

Domaine de Cébène

Les Bancels
60% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache (13.5% alc.)

Brigitte’s Faugères vines grow near Bédarieux on a terraced, north facing hillside for the syrah and grenache, and a due south facing plot for the mourvèdre. Faugères is renowned for its thin soils developed on underlying schist, here evident in brittle, thin layers, with lots of iron, which may help to imbue the fruit with a signature stony mineral flavour. Black cherry and blueberry fruit is abundant and dense, with spicy and wild garrigue herb notes, and this wine opens out really well with a good carafeing.

Domaine de Cébène

Belle Lurette
70% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre (13.5% alc.)

This wine is based around a 5ha parcel of 70-100yo vines yielding just one or two bunches per vine (two vines make one bottle of wine) that Brigitte purchased four years ago when the former owner was thinking of digging them up! The vines again face due north and are planted in an iron imbued schist. Made from 50% whole bunches and cuve aged, this has exceptional balance and is plummy, spicy and tastes very close to the grapes.

Domaine de Cébène

Ex Arena
90% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre (13.5% alc.)

This wine takes its name after the deep bed of sandy soil the vines are planted in (ex arena means ‘from the sand’ in Latin), developed on marine and alluvial deposits in Corneilhan, 20k from the Mediterranean. Yields are very low, between 10 to 20hh. Vinified and aged in cuve, this wine has a lovely dark plum but translucent colour. A 100% whole bunch fermentation provides an excellent structure, and the wine has spicy, black cherry fruit with a most attractive freshness.

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