La Bancale 'Chair Blanche Marnes Noires' 2019
Producer: La Bancale (Bastien Baillet and Céline Schuers)
Varietal: 50% Grenache Gris, 50% Macabeu
Notes: The Grenache Gris and Macabeu were harvested on the morning of August 30th and blended at the press. The juice undergoes one-night of cold settling in stainless-steel tanks, then is racked off the heavy lees straight into large neutral vats for fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation begins naturally using only indigenous yeasts. No stirring of the fine lees and the wine goes through full malolactic fermentation. After the completion of malolactic fermentation, a very low dose of sulfur is added, and the wine is racked into neutral vats for ageing. Aged in neutral vats for 4 months. The wines are bottled un-fined and unfiltered.
"Bastien and Céline have methodically added small plots of old vines over the past five years and today they farm a little under 5 hectares, spread over multiple parcels in 5 different communes. Nearly all their vineyards are planted to native, 70 plus year old, head trained bush vines. The three exceptions are a little Syrah that is trellised, two plots of Macabeu planted in 1980 and some younger vine Grenache Gris. All vineyards are farmed according to Organic principles, and the Domaine is in the conversion process for Organic certification (ECOCERT). Other than some light tilling by tractor, all work in the vineyards is done by hand. The soils are predominately decomposed granite or black schist and marl. Several of the parcels are co-planted to multiple red and white varieties. Particularly interesting, is an 80-year-old, .20-hectare vineyard planted to Carignan Noir, Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Carignan Gris and Tourbat that is harvested together, co-fermented and bottled as a single vineyard.
The focus at La Bancale is expressing the Domaine’s unique terroirs, and the quality of the Roussillon’s indigenous grape varieties. Bastien and Céline feel this is best accomplished by making wine as naturally as possible, meaning meticulous organic farming and a hands-off approach in the cellar. Apart from minimal sulfur additions, less than 30ppm, there are no enological additions to the wines. Wine making here is about as low tech as it gets, with everything from pump overs (by bucket) to bottling done completely by hand. New oak is not used. Vinification and maturation are in stainless-steel tanks or used French oak barrels. Bastien has become very adept at utilizing co-fermentation, and the technique is employed on both whites and reds.
While still quite young, Bastien and Céline show great promise. They have already produced several excellent vintages and demonstrate a level of understanding rare for such young vignerons. When asked about his philosophy and ideas on being a vigneron Bastien has this to say,
“I just really like being a peasant, it’s a hard job but a great job! I like to prune the vines, to care for the vines, to plough the vines, to harvest the vines…the vines are a good place for me.”
This spirit and work ethic are something we look for in all our vignerons but might be best personified by this remarkable young couple. Quite simply, this is a Domaine to watch." -Terres Blanches