Leaving her native Bordeaux and the employ of Jean-Luc Thunevin, for whom she was the export manager, Brigitte Chevalier settled in Faugères with the intention of starting her own estate. For years she had been drawn to the unique terroirs of Faugères and its rugged landscape hugging the Massif Central in the far northwest corner of the Languedoc. Faugères is a borderland where the gentle climate of the Mediterranean meets the wild and unpredictable weather of the central upland of France. Through diligent research, Brigitte was able to locate a group of vineyards in a remote part of Faugères centered around a ziggurat- shaped hill at an elevation of 320m above sea level. This location affords a range of exposures from north-facing, then around the slope of the hill facing east before finishing with full southern exposure. Underneath these sites is the classic soil of Faugères – schist. This distinctive soil stretches from Faugères southwestwards into Saint-Chinian creating wines with pronounced acidity and minerality – qualities that make these two regions stand apart from their neighbors. These factors: soil, exposure and climate, combine to allow Brigitte to makes wines that suit her palate, what she calls, “Vin du Nord in the South.”
Les Bancèls is the name for a schist terrace in the local dialect of Faugères and references the vineyard Brigitte farms in the far north of the A.O.P. Resembling a ziggurat or an stepped Mayan temple more than a vineyard, this site, at an elevation of 320m, benefits from a nearly 270 degree exposure from northern and northeastern to full southern. Les Bancèls is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre with each variety located in the place best suited for this warm climate – Syrah and Grenache on the north- facing slopes and Mourvedre on the south.