Brothers François and Louis-Adrien Delhon represent Domaine Bassac at the 2011 Wine Pleasures International Organic Workshop in Barcelona. Domaine Bassac is located In Puisalicon, a small medieval village of the Languedoc in the south of France. We asked François about how he got involved in the wine business, about making organic wine and why Domaine Bassac comes back to the Workshop year after year.
How did you get involved in the wine industry? I am a seventh generation winemaker but my father was the first in the line to make it a full time vocation. I started working in the vineyards as a boy and worked my way up from hoeing grass to driving tractors to team manager. Only last year did I start full time with the business then last summer, due to the death of my father, my brother and I assumed leadership of the winery.
What was it like growing up on the vineyard? As a boy, my father used the threat of being forced to work in the vineyards as a punishment if I misbehaved or did not do well in school. I dreaded working there so much I asked my father to sell the winery and buy a Coca-Cola factory. Now I find it very relaxing to work in the fields but don’t have the time. Sometimes I take a few minutes for myself and go again to hoe the grass in the vineyard.
Why did your family get involved in organic wine making? My family got involved in the organic wine making 23 years ago after seeing how the chemical products used in the vineyards were evolving. My father got scared about the possible impact on the environment and people so he started working in the organic way. We have been certified for 20 years.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating an organic wine? We can’t speak about advantages or disadvantages. Of course it’s a complication added to the everyday work but it’s something that we believe in. The one advantage I see is that the vineyards are now more resistant by themselves, not relying on chemical products.
What makes your wines stand out? The most important is that our wines are good wines, with a very good balance between price and quality. It is a plus that we are organic.
How would you compare the workshop methodology at Wine Pleasures to a large-scale wine trade fair? What are the strengths and weaknesses of both? In a large-scale wine trade fair you stay at your table and wait for people to stop by. At the Wine Pleasures Workshop you know who is coming so you can plan your meetings in advance. Plus you spend good times with everybody during the dinners and at the bar with a beer. I prefer this way of doing business which feels more personal.
While at the workshop we were able to try the Armonia Blanc. Consisting of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscat, this offering has a golden yellow hue with citrus notes. The wine offers a pleasant mouth feel, nice balance, lightly sweet with no overly acidic tones, giving way to a modest finish.