Chemins de Bassac

Stars Aligned for a Healthier Life

 

Quick facts:

Location: the village of Puimisson, Languedoc, Southern France

Owner & winemaker: Bruno & Thama Trigueiro

Vineyard area: 20 hectares (=49 acres), estate-owned

Vineyard management: certified organics and biodynamics

Soils: limestone and clay from ancient Quaternary alluvial terraces

Main varieties: Roussanne, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

Annual production (approx.): 60,000 bottles

Winemaking: minimal—spontaneous fermentation, wines aged in various tanks. No fining, only a little sulfur at bottling.

 

Fun facts:

  • Bruno & Thama, a former architect duo from Brazil, took the helm of the estate in 2016, fueled by the need to live a healthier life outside the hustle and bustle of Sao Paolo
  • The domaine is quite an old one, established in the late nineteenth century as the main winemaking operation of the village, and it’s been organic for more than 30 years
  • In 2019, the current owners converted the vineyards to biodynamics under Demeter certification and stopped using any additives in the cellar, save for a little sulfur at bottling
  • This new era is of course reflected on the labels, too, such as the ancient cyanotype technique by the couples friend, artist Amélie Cordier, on the wines we’ve selected
  • The name of the estate means “roads to Bassac”, referring to the name of the place where most of the estate’s vineyards are located
 
 
 

“It felt like the stars aligned,” Bruno Trigueiro smiles when asked about the moment in his life when his brother-in-law approached him with the idea of taking care of a wine estate in France he wanted to invest in. At the time, the current winemaker and co-owner of Chemins de Bassac was suffering from severe migraines and, aided by an anthroposophical doctor, started to consider a change of lifestyle from the busy Sao Paolo architect routine that he and his wife Thama were living. A healthier and more holistic option materialized in 2016, when the couple took their two young daughters and moved to Puimisson, a small village close to the Mediterranean coast, to take care of the newly purchased Chemins de Bassac.

I visited other domains too, but this one was the perfect fit: certified organic, the right size we were looking for, with a cellar well in place. And we also liked the fact that, unlike the areas in France where a certain status quo is established, Languedoc is way more dynamic, open to new things,” Bruno explains. After a couple of years of transition and learning from the previous owners, Bruno and Thama took complete control over all things vine and wine in 2019. “I see that as the true ‘first vintage’ for us because that’s when the vineyards became Demeter-certified and we really started to make wine our way.” 

Their arrival indeed marks a whole new era for this respectable old domain (established in the late 19th century, practicing organic since the 1980s): the adventurous one where no enological preparations or additives, save for a little bit of sulfur, are used. It’s not an easy path, Bruno admits, especially for someone who’s still new to it, “but I feel we can and should trust our grapes and the good vineyard work that’s behind them. And…” he grows more solemn, “I was really traumatized by the migraines, suffering that only went away once I stopped eating and drinking industrialized produce. And if I don’t want additives for myself, I don’t want them for anybody.” Luckily for them, their neighbor just across the road is one Jean-Francois Coutelou, a long-term pioneer of natural winemaking in the area. “There’s no such thing as making wine alone,” Bruno nods. 

Don’t they miss their previous life and architecture, though? “Not really. Take the labels, for examplewe now work with artists whose work we enjoy, so there’s still a lot of creativity going on.” The wines we import, for example, are made by a French artist and designer using the old cyanotype technique, putting natural materials from the vineyards like stones and plants on a photo-sensitive material. “And it goes way deeper than thismaking a wine actually requires a lot of conceptual and creative work. You have to think a lot in advance about the “construction” of your winehow to prune, when to harvest, how to package it… There are lots of facets to the ‘wine’s design’ as well!”

 

 

 

Chemins De Bassac Roussanne 

Grape: Roussanne

Vineyard: 15 years old vines on on limestone and clay originating from ancient Quaternary alluvial terraces at around 100 m altitude.

Winemaking: The grapes are gently pressed and a light debourbage by cold is made. The clear must is vatted for the fermentation which takes place in concrete tanks. After aging for 5 months the wine is bottled by gravity, without filtration or fining, with just a light sulfur addition.

Personality: generous honeysuckle and cantaloupe aromas, pleasantly round with good acidity. Perfect on its own or with all kinds of finger food and easy light dishes…


Chemins De Bassac L’Incandescente Rosé

Grape: Syrah

Vineyard: 15 years old vines on limestone and clay originating from ancient Quaternary alluvial terraces at around 100 m altitude.

Winemaking: The grapes are gently pressed and a light debourbage by cold is made. The macerations take place in concrete vats. They are soft and very long, in order to slowly extract color, tannins, and aromas and so that everything harmoniously blends into the wine. The bottlings are done by gravity without filtration or fining, with just a light sulfur addition.

Personality: succulent & spicy rosé, with a bunch of red fruits and herbal touch on the palate.


Chemins De Bassac Le Champs des Maures

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vineyard: 15 years old vines on limestone and clay originating from ancient Quaternary alluvial terraces at around 100 m altitude.

Winemaking: The macerations take place in concrete vats. They are soft and very long to slowly extract color, tannins, and aromas and so that everything harmoniously blends into the wine. The bottlings are done by gravity without filtration or fining, with just a light sulfur addition.

Personality: soft spices, dry tannins, dark fruit: an easy-going Southern-style red for all occasions.