Bruno Duchêne

Bruno_Duchene Bruno is originally from the Loire Valley, where his family had a thriving business selling farm machinery. Before starting his career as a winemaker, he was a wild mushroom distributor in the Loire Valley and Burgundy, which is when he became interested in wine; meticulously made, natural, non-interventionist wines in particular. He went to work with Frédéric Cossard of Domaine de Chassorney in Saint Romain for nine months to learn how to make it. He now resides in the town of Banyuls, where he produces wines from some of France’s hardest-to-work vineyards.

He owns 4 hectares spread over 4 parcels, all on schist but with enough exposition and micro-climate variations to keep it interesting. Banyuls’ and Collioure’s vineyards are notorious for being extremely low-yielding, and very difficult to work mechanically, which means an ever-increasing number of people have abandoned some of these legendary sites.

Bruno works his vines organically, and, because of the region’s ideal climate, he averages only three sulfur treatments a year (which is an extremely low number). Because odium is not an issue here, he never uses copper. The wines ferment spontaneously in tank; then are racked to barrel for aging. Sulfur is only added at bottling, if at all (the 2011s saw no added SO2).

Bruno produces three reds: La Luna, La Pascole and L’Anodine (the latter is only occasionally available in magnums). All three wines are made from Grenache and a tiny bit of Carignan. He bottles based on the distinct agricultural practices he performs on the different parcels. For La Luna, he lets grass grow free. La Pascole is partially plowed by hand. L’Anodine is nearly impossible to work — all the soil work has to be done by hand — except for a tiny plot where he’s able to work with a horse to till and plow. He also produces a white, Vallpompo, from Grenache Blanc (which we’ve rarely seen).