Our wines express the unmistakable terroir of ancient slate soils. The Monts de Faugères rock formation dates back 340 million years, to the geological Carboniferous period. It is the same period from which the oldest wine terroirs of Europe hail, in particular those from the Mosel, Priorat, Côte-Rôtie, Burgenland and the Douro Valley.
The rock of the Monts de Faugères is metamorphic and split into intricate layers. The brittleness of the rock makes it possible for the vines to develop a deep root system, enabling them to always find some moisture even during the very dry Mediterranean summers. Like all great vineyard sites, the terroir of Faugères has a balancing effect, resulting in very harmonious wines.
The ancient rock of the Monts de Faugères is rich in minerals such as iron and magnesium. This gives our wines their distinctive and characteristic minerality. The structure of the rock and the mineral content of the slate varies from one plot to another, giving each wine an individual touch of terroir.
Olivier Binet and Pierre Jacquet, have always shared a common passion for authentic terroir focused wines. Driven by this vision we embarked on an adventure in 1999 and created our own domaine. We strongly believe that the authentic expression of terroir is only possible when there is a close relationship between the vine grower and his vineyards. It is for this reason that we chose to limit the size of our estate to just 9 hectares of vineyards.
We planted the majority of our vineyards ourselves between 2002 and 2007 and have purchased alongside it some old vine plots to complete our holdings. Our first, small, harvest was in 2005, and the following year we bought and renovated an old cellar in the center of the medieval town of Faugères. All our vineyards have been in full production since 2012.
At the beginning our domaine existed only as a vision in our heads. Pierre Jacquet had previously worked at different wine producers in Languedoc for more than 10 years. Olivier Binet had worked as a wine journalist and was selling wines.
In 1999, we started to create our domaine from the scratch. After visiting many winemaker friends in Languedoc, France, Italy and Spain, we started to prepare two and a half hectares of wasteland for the first planting. What we wanted to do was in many respects a pioneer project. From the very beginning we choosed to work biodynamically, making use of high density of planting, old and less productive rootstock and the massale selection cuttings. All these quality mesures were not known in the Languedoc during that time. We planted grains and legumes to improve soil structure for two years. When the soils were ready, we planted our first five plots of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah at "Jardins" and "Bouzigues" in March 2002.
The first harvest
In September 2005 we harvested for the first time a small quantity from our young vines. Since we didn't have our own cellar facilities yet at that time, we vinified at a friends cellar in the neighboring village of Cabrerolles. This first wine was made with very modest means. But the first results were already very encouraging - our wines clearly showed the freshness and minerality we wanted to achieve from the start. The first production was very small and were distributed the first bottles to a handful of wine merchants and restaurants.
In 2006 we had the chance to buy old vines of Grenache and Carignan from a winemaker who was retiring and had taken care to keep his vineyard with respect. During the same year, we also bought and renovated an old wine cellar in the heart of the old village of Faugères. And the following spring, we planted another four and a half hectares at "Fenouillet", "Lentillières" and "Magnoux", and completed as well our vineyards at "Bouzigues" and "Fruitiers" with new plantations.
The outcome after thirteen years
In 2012, for the first time we harvested a full production of 30,000 bottles in total. In the same year, after the legaly required period of conversion we obtained the organic certifications as well as the biodynamic certification by Demeter. During this year we also started selling our wines all over Europe and worldwide, working with a handful of selected partners.
After thirteen years, our vision from 1999 achieved its realization.
The origins of biodynamic farming
Biodynamic agriculture goes back to Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). In 1924 he taught the so called "courses for farmers" to 60 farmers in Koberwitz in Germany. In his speeches which lasted six days, he pointed out a holistic view of agriculture and, based on this, recommended methods to improve farming. Since then, these methods have been refined and developed worldwide.
The biodynamic preparations
Within biodynamic agriculture two preparations play a major role: the horn dung (called preparation 500) and the horn silica (preparation 501). Preparation 500 is done with cow dung which is filled into cow horns and buried in the ground for several months. The 501 is elaborated in the same way, but with ground quartz. During the year, these preparations are dynamised in source water and then applied to the vineyards at specific times of the year depending on the position of the moon and of the planets. We use dung horn twice a year, once in spring before bud break, and again in the fall after harvest. Horn silica is used once in June after flowering. Of great importance are also six herbal preparations (preparations 502-507) that we use to improve our compost maturation process.
The results of biodynamics
On our domaine we are working according to the principles of biodynamics since 1999, hence since the very beginning. Since we started, our experiences were very convincing: the soils of our vineyards are alive, after heavy rains we have no erosion on the hill slopes, plant diversity in the vineyards is exceptionally high, the root system of our vineyards and the natural flora is highly developed and our vineyards are extremely resistant to all illnesses. In the cellar the results are just as convincing: the grapes contain high levels of tannins and acidity which protects them naturally. The use of oenological products in the wine can thus be outlawed, and our wines are characterized by minerality and balance.
These results are consistent with other winemaker's experiences working seriously in biodynamics. In addition, they are supported by scientific studies. The most prominent is a comparative study which has been conducted over 21 years, whose results were published in the prestigious journal "Science" (P. Mader et al. Soil Fertility in Organic Farming and Diversity on 31 May 2002, Vol . 296, p.1694-1697, www.sciencemag.org). The authors conclude that in organic farming, and especially in biodynamic agriculture - unlike conventional production - plants find their vital resources primarily in the soil, and therefore need almost no external inputs as fertilizers, pesticides and energy.
For growers like us, who are looking for expressing the terroir in our wines, biodynamic agriculture is the most convincing way to do so.