Brigitte Chevalier bought vineyards in Faugères in the Languedoc seven years ago to make wine in her own, highly individual way. In a short space of time, the estate has established itself as a leader within the appellation (chosen as one of the 12 “Best of the South” vineyards by Andrew Jefford in Decanter, September 2013, referred to in the French press as “perfect, text-book example of Faugères wines”) and a highly rated name within winemaking circles.

Brigitte’s winemaking quest is for freshness and perfect fruit aromas, with as little intervention as possible; the estate was converted over to organic winegrowing when she took over in 2007 with “official” status granted when the 2010s were released.

So far, we have brought in just one of her wines – Les Bancèls – a lovely balanced, rich and soft wine, with abundant fruit and spiciness and a complex structure. The rich, ripe tannins and good redcurrant acidity hint that it will continue to evolve over a number of years, though it’s good to drink now.

Les Bancèls Faugères 2011

In the cooler wine regions, the battle for  winemakers is to get enough sugar in the grapes at harvest time. In the warm Languedoc region, however, the problem is reversed: having too much sugar (and therefore alcohol) and too little acidity. To produce her elegant red, Brigitte Chevalier has planted the syrah and Grenache at a higher altitude and facing north, slowing down the ripening process. Blended with grapes from south-facing mourvèdre vines, the result is graceful but perfectly ripe: you can sense the southern sun in its black fruit and minerals – but it doesn’t burn.” (David Williams, The Observer, Saturday 19 April 2014).

Recently scored 91/100 in Wine Advocate, May 2014.