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A Visit with Bruno Duchêne
This visit with Bruno Duchêne took place in July, 2012.
Words by Jules Dressner, photos by Maya Pedersen.
Bruno Duchêne is the man. From the minute he greets you with his big smile and booming laugh (his deep HA HA HA sounds like Falkor from Never Ending Story), you just get good vibes from the guy. Anyone who knows him well will tell you the guy is pure energy. And as we discovered at lunch, Bruno doesn't just party: he is the party. But more on that later...
Before meeting up with Bruno, our top priority was to find a leash for Zaggy, which had been lost at some point during our last visit. Cruising around
After finding a nice red leash for Zag-Zag, we met up with Bruno on one of
Bruno's wines have quickly gathered cult status in the States for their pure expression of
The area you can see in that picture covers roughly half of Bruno's "
Speaking of the vines, Bruno owns four
"A good attitude goes a long way! It worked out perfectly."
That quote embodies Bruno's easy-going nature perfectly. Never a worry in the world!
Anyhow, we only visited Bruno's biggest
"You're going to understand everything!"
As you can see in the picture below, all the vineyards are planted on the steep, mountainous hills and face the
Bruno produces three red wines: "La Luna", "La Pascole" and "L'Anodine" (the latter only being available in
"La Pascole" in a single vineyard is partially
Finally, "L'Anodine" represents the areas that are impossible to work mechanically and where the soil work has to be done 100% by hand, except for a tiny
He also makes a white called "Vallpompo" from
Bruno replants everything by himself, which is pretty uncommon these days: it's a very tough and precise process, so usually a
"Only the elders still know how to do this, and they taught me how to do this. When you plant this way, the vines are here forever."
Sounds like those elders really appreciated Bruno's good attitude!
Another question I had for Bruno: how does wind affect your work?
"There is always air coming from the sea."
Winds from the water and/or the mountains are ever-present: over 200 days of the year are "extremely windy", with the
Heading back into town, I noticed something that had stayed on my mind since George Descombes pointed it out in
Basically, the darker green vines on the lower right are the result of repeated
Driving back into
As you can see, it's huge. The partners plan on opening a bed and breakfast, as well as a restaurant/wine bar in the space.
"I was about to be debt free for the first time in almost twenty years. Not anymore! But you know what? An opportunity like this will never happen again, and I'm so glad I was able to find this many people to invest. The goal is to create a community spirit, a
It's important to note that only 200 of
"These vineyards are extremely difficult to work. If it wasn't for them still being able to sell a lot of wine, I can't even begin to imagine how many of these vines would become abandoned overnight."
We went back to the
Lunch was at the great restaurant/natural wine bar El Xadic Del Mar. We ate like kings, and started with this:
But that was only the beginning. Bruno started ordering bottle after bottle. And since he knows everybody in town -warm greetings kept erupting from him every 10 minutes- it got to the point where he was pouring some of our wine to them and vice-versa. Look, there's even photographic evidence.
By the time cheese was done and Bruno ordered a bottle of