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Vinyer de la Ruca Visit June 2019
This visit at Vinyer de la Ruca took place in June, 2019.
Words and photos by Jules Dressner.
After a first great night in
Instead, we decided to meet Manuel by the water for some pastries. Over coffee by the sea, Manu gave us the history of Vinyer de la Ruca. He is originally from
“I wanted to do everything by hand. I wanted limits for myself.”
He eventually found what he was looking for in the
It was a return to a primitive life. Everything was done with his own two hands. The wine was produced in a tiny garage in town,
In 2011, he and Bruno Duchêne started the 9 Caves project. This massive undertaking involved converting
With the buildout of Les 9 Caves, Manuel finally had a “real”
It’s the smallest of the nine, but still more spacious than the garage he’d been working out of. This meant it was time for a new challenge: more land to produce
“Renting is better here. The Ullamp vineyard costs me a 100 euros a year. Buying would cost 15 000. Though it’s still cheap compared to other regions, there is next to no demand for these
Now fueled up on coffee and pain au chocolat, we hopped into the only
Manu’s largest vineyard is located here.
Some of the grapes are used for the Tutti Frutti Ananas project, others to make his own
The first thing I noticed was that the vineyard, while completely isolated, is surrounded by fences.
Manuel has hired a team of contractors to build these logistically unprecedented and costly fences so that his sheep can graze within the vineyards.
“The sheep take care of the competing grass. I don’t need to work the soil this way. And having animals also brings
The few neighbors he has all think he’s nuts.
The vines are about 25 years old. While the soils are still
One thing I found amusing was Manuel referring to this area as “the plains” though it it's undeniably steep. It turns out that any vineyard that isn’t
Our next stop was the Ullamp vineyard.
About 50 yards out, Manuel's recent stagiaire Kiko was working on a new plantation of
Manu hopes to eventually make a white and a
“I like working alone. It limits me.”
Our last stop was the
You actually have to follow a path below Bruno Duchêne’s vines to get there; it was a bit surreal discovering this unbeknownst area so close to a place I’ve visited many times.
Of all the vines we visited that day, this was the most classic
One day I need to write a novel about this guy. I will however say that this picture does indeed say a thousand words.
After lunch, we took a quick excursion to visit Nathalie Lefort, the force of nature behind La Guinelle, the best vinegars in the world.
Our afternoon ended back at Manu's
With the exception of the addition of
As you may already know, for the most part Manuel uses blown glass bottles for his wines.
“When I found out there was a local
Each bottle is thus unique in detail and shape. In such, Manuel needs to order custom
FUN FACT: the Vinyer de la Ruca logo was inspired by a dried out eggplant that was lying around the house. “It just looked unique". His ex-wife, an artist whose pieces can be spotted throughout the