Sous le Végétal
Jason Ligas and Patrick Bouju
Sous le Végétal is a collaborative wine project between Jason Ligas of Domine Ligas and Patrick Bouju of Domaine la Bohéme. This project finds them on the beautiful island of Samos in Greece, located one mile off the coast of Turkey.
Sous le Végétal actively avoids the industrial farming practices that dominate winemaking in Greece and have opted to do extensive work in the vineyards to restore a healthy permaculture for their vines and the rich assortment of volcanic soils. Their farming practices are biodynamic and organic, down to the utilization of herbs and natural balms to heal and protect the vines.
Each cuvée features Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. The goal of this project is to show the different expressions of this grape in all of the different microclimates on the island. Every grape is harvested by hand and fermented and aged in a succession of vessels specific to each wine.
In Jason’s words, “This project is entirely geared towards a very specific level of quality, and in order to nourish this project, I rely on the microcosmos, on the infinitely small. Furthermore, I believe in the infinitely slow.”
Jason, Meli, and Thomas Ligas
Since ancient times, the region of Pella situated in northern Greece, was associated with wine making and described as ” the mother of wine, where vines abound”. The god of wine, wreathed in vine leaves in these extraordinary mosaics, seems to have found fertile, hallowed ground here in Pella. The region has always been host to great vineyard with a long tradition. It was here that the tragic poet Euripides wrote and staged his last play, Bacchae.
The Church of the Virgin Mary, the Panaghia at Yannitsa was built in 1861 using wine to mix the mortar, as the othoman governor had forbidden the use of water for building the church. It was to this region that the French army, camped by the Galikos River in the early 20th century, came in search of quality wine. Grape diseases (phyloxera) and other factors, such as the drainage of the nearby lake, unfortunately made farmers turn to other crops. Yet, the know-how and love inspired by vineyards in this land for thousands of years were far from forgotten.
Having studied oenology in France, Thomas Ligas began, in 1985, to study the local ecosystems, exploring viticulture and vinification, and seeking to accentuate the distinctive qualities of this terroir.
“The gentle slopes of Pella enjoy bountiful sun and air. Our vines draw strength from the loamy sand, limey and well-drained soil, which we keep fluffy and rested, preserving the natural turf. Producing nourishing natural ingredients, the vibrant microcosm that grows in harmonious equilibrium in the soil requires the vine for a balanced development.
This natural approach to viticulture, which goes beyond organic farming, preserves the typical original characteristics of the grape intact as determined by the vineyard.
Our intervention goes hand in hand with natural growth, without imposition, and aims to safeguard the health and maturity of the grapes, seeking an ideal balance between quality and quantity. Preventive intervention, always in accordance with the principles of organic viticulture, minimises the need for remedial treatment
The grape varieties that we grow to produce our wines are Roditis, Assyrtiko, Kydonitsa for white, and Xinomavro, Limniona or red. All picking is done by hand from mid-August to late September.
Optimal processing of the grapes and controlled fermentation are made possible in our modern, well-equipped winery, enabling the winemaker to extract the best characteristics of the grape through his expertise and art.
The nose and palate character of our wines is consolidated and enhanced while keeping technical processing to a minimum. Red wines mature first in oak casks, then in bottles in the underground cellar. Our varietal blends complement the enjoyment of a fine meal.
The combination of the region of Pella and the Ligas Estate is your assurance of a quality wine, the perfect accompaniment to your moments of pleasure.”