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Domaine de Cébène

Domaine de Cébène, a vineyard with a sense of place. Brigitte Chevalier came to Faugères to make wine in her own, highly individual way. 

In a short space of time, her organically farmed estate of 11 hectares has established itself as a leader within its chosen appellation and a highly rated name within South of France winemaking circles.

Brigitte hunted down and bought the parcels that met her objectives, choosing them on the basis of the quality of their terroir and their grape varieties, their exposure (north-facing, for balanced wines) and altitude (300 metres, in the foothills of the Massif Central), in Faugères, in the heart of the Haut-Languedoc Parc Naturel. 

Brigitte has stated that her mission is to, “make vin du nord (wine from the north) in the south.”

Her judicious choice of terroirs, combined with deep-rooted vines, very low yields, grapes hand-picked at optimum ripeness and careful vinification give her wines a unique profile.


The Biography

Brigitte Chevalier arrived in the Languedoc in 2004 and made her first Faugères in 2008.

She comes from Bordeaux, where she had worked for a négociant, but she really wanted to make her own wine. 

And it was the variety of the terroir and the choice of grape varieties that brought her to the Languedoc.   

As she explained, ‘here you have a wonderful impression of liberty compared to Bordeaux where you are weighed down by tradition’. 

Cébène takes its name from the goddess of the Cevennes, the hills that form a backdrop to the vineyards of Faugères, an outline of which features on Brigitte’s labels. 

She now has a new cellar outside the village of Faugères, buried in schist with views across the valley to the village and the Pic de Tantajo, and even as far as the sea.

Nowadays she farms 10.5ha with the help of her husband Pierre Roque, a local consultant in agronomy and oenology.

In the vineyard

She mostly owns parcels on north-facing hillsides, either terraced or planted 'en foule' (ancient bush vines), and located at the northern border of the appellation around 300m altitude.

Adept at preserving biodiversity and traditions she saved a few old parcels from being grubbed up, working them by hand (light 'griffages' with a hoe) and using them for massal selections.

She also favours the blend of different varieties in her wines with a special affinity for mourvèdre which "might be the most suited grape for the local schist, it's a bit like the yin and yang, that particular soil tames down the power of Mourvèdre.”


In the cellar

Working with very low yields of around 20hh, Brigitte harvests by hand, uses different percentages of whole bunches (average 50%) for each fermentation in stainless steel; extraction is gentle with no 'remontages' whatsoever and only a few 'pigeages', ageing occurs in vats and in bottle (often for a few years before release).

From the 2014 vintage Brigitte moved her operations from a cramped space in the nearby village to her own gravity-fed cellar, dug out of a hillside and surrounded by her own 100yo bush vines of carignan.

The wines gained in precision and depth which allowed her to further reduce the level of SO2, only 20mg/l is added at bottling following a light filtration.




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