CHAPELLE de NOVILIS, organic viticulture and winemaking
It is in Maraussan in the Hérault, a few kilometers north-west of Béziers, in the heart of the Languedoc vineyards that the CHAPELLE team of NOVILIS cultivates 16 hectares of vines in organic farming and produces organic wines in red, white and rosé under the Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) Coteaux d’Ensérune. The farm is composed of a mosaic of grape varieties: Vermentino, Viognier, Grenache gris and Marsanne for whites; Cinsault, Carignan, Alicante, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the reds; Tempranillo, Cinsault and Vermentino for rosé. All are cultivated with patience and sweetness on soils mainly clay-limestone and deep. This terroir, combined with a meticulous work in the vineyard and cellar, gives our wines all their freshness, elegance and finesse.
Nathalie Jeannot, winemaker of passion and conviction
At the age of 50, in March 2011, I decided to change my professional life and live my passion for wine and life. After a year of personal reflection, I proposed to my brother-in-law Laurent Pegolotti, winemaker (profession of vine growing, without wine production) to associate us and create our own cellar, our range of wine, and go in search of their lovers. We exchanged, dialogued, reflected, and 8 months later, in November, was born CHAPEL of NOVILIS.
“We did not know it was impossible, so we did it”
In March 2011, Laurent exploited 22 ha of vines in very bad condition. They died after having experienced very good hours until the end of the 1970s, the beginning of the 1980s. Like so many others in Languedoc, the exploitation was victim at that time of the most violent crisis in history. of the wine market. This was the beginning of an infernal spiral for exploitation, both economically and culturally. Invested in our faith in ourselves and visceral inability to hear some skeptics who kept telling us that this project was doomed to failure, in November 2011, we created CHAPEL of NOVILIS.
In just 5 years, we tore 6 hectares of vines, too neglected, and started to restore those with high quality potential that could still be saved; we planted 2.5 ha on unexploited plots; we built a 280 m² cellar dedicated to the production of high-end wines, and went to meet the first lovers of our wines. We started by vinifying the equivalent of 1.7 ha in 2012 to progressively vinify 12 today, over the qualitative work that we put in place on our plots to allow our vines to offer us grapes top of the line. Our small yields, very qualitative, gave us to sell our first 2,000 bottles in 2013 to reach 13,000 bottles in 2016.
We will advance at our cruising speed in 2019.
with the annual production and sale of 35,000 bottles. Our wines are recognized and prized in France and abroad by private customers, independent wine merchants, bistronomic or gastronomic tables, some of which are starred, as well as Relais Châteaux.
CHAPELLE de NOVILIS, a special cellar of haute couture wines in Languedoc
I am often asked the question: “And in 10 years, how do you see CHAPELLE de NOVILIS? “I hope it’s true to what our wine lovers say today:” These wines are unexpected in Languedoc! So fresh! “” Great finesse and elegance! A real signature on all wines. I see it becoming what the team is working hard for every day: a special cellar of haute couture wines in Languedoc. Nathalie Jeannot Vigneronne
An architectural domain of 1 200 years old
II century BC
In 110 BC, a Gallo-Roman villa, whose remains are still buried today, is built 150 meters from the current estate. The vine has been established since then. In 500 AD, the domain is part of the kingdom of the Visigoths like all the Lower Languedoc. Visigoth tombs are also updated in the 1970s during work around the bourgeoise house present in the place and dating from the end of the XIXth century.
In the 9th century, the Lord Walchaire, a Visigoth, owns the domain. He built a church there: St. Mary's Church, consecrated in 897. This church is the architectural origin of the present domain, we can still see the Romanesque art bell tower. Under the influence of the clergy, the cultivation of the vine knew a great revival in the field as in all Languedoc.From this time on, the domain is called Domain de Villenouvette, meaning "Free City", free of taxes /taxes on trade, as flourished in other places some others Villenouvette or others Villefranche, with the same meaning.The centuries passed, but the culture of the vine would never leave the place. Over the centuries, the Domain of Villenouvette is successively the property of powerful and close to the kings lords.
In 1219, Pierre IV de Villeneuve founded the motto "Sicut sol emicat ensis": "Like the sun, the sword gushes forth! "And he creates the first blazon "De Gueules Gules with a golden sun" De Gueules is the name given to this specific "red".
A quite exceptional female parenthesis in the 14th century, since it is a woman who is owner of the domain. Her name is Jeanne NOVILIS. This name Novilis, given the original language of Oc, twin sister of Catalan, can sometimes appear as Nobilis.
XVth – XIXth century
As for many ancient places, the period from the 15th to the 18th century is a great black hole because of the disappearance of written traces and various notarial acts burned during the revolution.
Napoleonic cadastral map of 1830 presenting the Castle of the domain (figure on the right on the map).
The castle was destroyed at the french Revolution. Only one tower is remaining (small "ergot" at the northwest point on the map of the castle, here the north is to the right of the plan)
After the Revolution, the religious activity in the church ceases. A plaque on the wall of the house adjoining the church which was to be the presbytery still shows "Mr. Olivier, Cure, 1761". The area being in flood zone, the roof of the church is destroyed to build a dwelling out of water in its place.
XXth century: The Maury-Pegolotti family in command of the domain of Villenouvette
1950: Henri Maury, from a long line of winegrowers, and his wife Jeanne, buy the domain of Villenouvette and the vines that surround it. They settled in the 19th century bourgeoise house, built on part of the site of the castle destroyed during the Revolution, and of which at the present time remains only a truncated tower. They have three children: Henriette, Nicole and Philippe.
1960: Henriette Maury and her husband René Pegolotti take over the domain's reindeer and participate actively in its growing. They both settle in the dwelling above the church of Sainte-Marie. For practical reasons, what remains of the church will become a place of use, regularly subjected to flooding: various storage, workshop, and later installation of the boiler of the house.
1961: On the farm side, Henriette and René produce bulk wine but are also pioneers, for Languedoc, in the production and sale of bottled wine. They produce up to 35,000 bottles, mainly sold in the Puy-de-Dôme from where René is originated. Unfortunately, this activity will soon be abandoned due to lack of human resources. René cannot manage the sale of the bottles that drives him away from the cultivation and the cultivation at the same time. So he ceases the production of bottles and refocuses on the cultivation and the production of wine in bulk.
1980: The crisis in the wine market caught up with exploitation. The prices of the bulk collapsed.
1985: Putting the economic health of the company in jeopardy, the winemaking at the domain is totally abandoned. The grapes are sold as fresh harvest at the Coopérative des Vignerons du Pays d'Ensérune. René and Henriette decided to diversify the company's activity and invested in a more profitable production: the plums of Ente, a variety intended to make dried prunes and sent to Agen.The visibility of the domain in the world of wine gently extinguished.
1990: Laurent, the youngest son of René and Henriette, is 26 years old. He has been working with his father for a very young age. He takes over the head of the farm at the retirement of his parents. The production of plums of Ente is then more important than that of the vine but is nevertheless always present and its grape continues to be brought to the cooperative of the Vignerons of the Country of Ensérune.
XXIst century: birth of CHAPELLE de NOVILIS
There are men and women who, in the midst of their lives, change the curve of their path and offer the same turn to a loved one, but also a new history to the place that surrounds them.
It is the crossing of two destinies, that of a woman in love with the earth, passionate about wine, and a man born in the vine, which allows the renewal of the domain and the birth of CHAPELLE de NOVILIS.
Laurent Pegolotti has been working alone for 20 years now and is running out of steam. It has been difficult for him to go through the crisis years that still marked the 1990s and 2000s, to make the necessary strategic decisions and to invest. Exploitation is at bay.
After more than 20 years of career in a large pharmaceutical industry group, her sister-in-law Nathalie Jeannot decides to refocus on what she sees as essential: land and weather, wine and Time, human and pleasure to live and work together.This is Christmas season. Nathalie is there for a few days to prune the vine with Laurent for the second consecutive winter. It is there, in the vines, in this right time, in this slow and natural rhythm of the prune, that the turn of these two destinies and that of the Domain begins in their dialogue.
Nathalie Jeannot and Laurent Pegolotti create CHAPELLE de NOVILIS on the Domain of Villenouvette, today one of the oldest domain in the Béziers region. They chose the name "CHAPELLE de NOVILIS", in reference to the original religious construction, Sainte-Marie's church (800) and in homage to the first woman owner of the Domain, Jeanne de Novilis (1376).
Inauguration of the new cellar labelled Qualité Tourisme Sud de France
A team committed around 3 strong values
How to explain the great reception of our wines by Epicurean, private or professional ?
The explanation is undoubtedly in the 3 strong values on which CHAPELLE de NOVILIS was built and rely :
In every gesture to culture : with precise manual work an pruning, disbudding, leaf stripping, and manual harvesting of our fragile grape varieties (90% of our grape varieties).
In every to culture : with to advanced equipment and selected and meticulous gestures, always guided by obtaining finesse and elegance for our organic wines.
Of the environment organic agriculture, enrichment soils with sheep manure and compost of grape marc; practice of sexual confusion against the worms of the bunch; since 2017, each year we have been sowing legumes between the rows of vines. These deeply rooted plants help to naturally soothe the soil in depth and thus help the development of biological life. This biological life allows the rootlets of our vines to find more easily the trace elements they need to enable them to bring our grapes to a higher qualitative level. On the other hand, the plant cover provided by these plants helps to fix the carbon in the air.
- Biodiversity : committed to biodiversity and water quality of soil and rivers, we are supported in this work by the Conservatory of Natural Spaces, the Water Agency, the Federation of PGIs and the Occitan Region, CHAPELLE de NOVILIS is certified High Environmental Value (HVE). The presence of legumes will add to this biodiversity, while allowing an increase in our fauna of insects cultivating.
- women and men : who work with us, but also those who taste our wines (organic farming and winemaking).
In the great environmental questions of our time : biodiversity, respect of environment, organic production.
At the vineyard, relentlessly, without compromise, from the size in winter until the harvest in early autumn, for a grape of high quality, raw material essential to the creation of a high-end wine.
In the cellar, by precise and delicate work throughout the process of vinification and aging.
These 3 fundamental values allow us to offer you the best of the vineyard, the wine and ourselves. Because wine only reveals the qualities of the team that gives birth to it. It is she, and everyone who composes it, that you meet by tasting what they put all their soul to produce.
A committed team
The women and men of CHAPELLE de NOVILIS
Benjamin Rathueville :
is our Culture Manager. Our common history began on April 1, 2020. Benjamin has strong experience in organic farming but also in biodynamic one. This Burgundian having made his debut in biodynamics in an area in Vosne Romanée will allow us to develop CHAPELLE de NOVILIS in this way. In addition, his 4 years of vinification in an other winery in Languedoc allow him to perfectly assist Nathalie in the cellar. Benjamin is committed, efficient and perfectionist. Loving responsibilities, he fully recognizes himself in CHAPELLE de NOVILIS values : Excellence, Respect and Commitment.
Alexandra Pouzet :
Alexandra provides heavy administrative, regulatory and sales support. Her experience in several areas of Languedoc, including a cooperative winery, has forged her skills on the many regulatory management tools (customs, etc.). Her perfect command of the German language is an asset. Alexandra is organized, rigorous and involved in her missions.
Isabelle Pegolotti :
a has another job. Her work as an employee of CHAPELLE de NOVILIS is extremely partial, but the little time she spends there is full and complete. Isabelle can intervene in the cellar, the logistics, the commercial, interventions “DIY” various and varied, essential in a small structure like ours. Isabelle is committed, hard-working, calm and always in the right mood.
Nicolas Dutour :
our oenologist and agronomist. Nicolas works for Dubernet Laboratories. It is therefore as a service provider that he intervenes at CHAPELLE de NOVILIS. But we consider him a full member of the team. All the analyzes pass in his hands. Nicolas also has a very high level for the tasting and his dual skills of agricultural engineer allows us to approach the life of our soils and our vines in an optimal way: analysis of the nutrients captured by our vines, plans of manure and amendments, sowing between our vines, etc. Nicolas is extremely competent, rigorous, very attentive and involved.
Our seasonal team :
We call on them at two major periods of the year: the size (2 seasonal) and the harvest (14 seasonal). So far, they are people of all ages, living in the area, and looking for work. CHAPELLE de NOVILIS thus contributes to the reinstatement of Man at the center of economic activity. Some of these seasonal workers have become loyal. And anyway, we can always count on a happy and enduring team.
Nathalie Jeannot :
Your winemaker. 6 years after the creation of CHAPELLE de NOVILIS, I continue to get excited about the vineyard, the wine, and this wonderful adventure. Commercial development limits my time to culture, with Laurent and Eric taking on this responsibility perfectly. Mine remain: vinification, commercial, administrative and regulatory management, and communication. I am passionate, enthusiastic, perfectionist, so demanding, and I strive to do my best to listen to you.
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