Domaine Mylène Bru – Saint Pargoire
Do you remember the expression ‘vin de garage’ created during the mid nineties in Saint-Emilion, to qualify a quite good wine, produced in very small quantities, without reals means, in a garage instead of a wine storehouse? The best example is probably ‘Château’ Valandraud (16000 bottles a year, though), quickly praised to the skies by influential critics. Today, the cost of a bottle of a medium range millésime would cost you no less than 300 €, about fifteen flights Paris-Shannon with Ryanair as Michel Houellebecq would say. But in these times of crisis, I think of you and propose a low-cost version of ‘vins de garage.’
Libération readers may remember the recent portrait of Mylène Bru by Pierre Hivernat entitled: ‘Les nectars de la débrouille’ (nectars of makeshift). It happens that very good friends of mine had also told me about the unusual path of this young woman who, without considerable means, had decided to become a wine-grower.
Time to get back into the (bicycle) saddle, and here I am amid Mylène Bru’s vines in the lieu-dit ‘la Fon de Lacan’ tasting her wines in situ alongwith her Japanese importer and her local distributors (two thirds of her bottles now fly to Tokyo, London and Oslo).
Her first job was to take care of her children, but the idea had been in her mind for a while. After having studied oenology and consulted a few women wine-growers – among whom Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, great figure of the Swiss viniculture – Mylène takes the plunge and, during spring 2007, spends her savings in the acquisition of a wonderfully situtated 10 acres vineyard located around Saint-pargoire, 20 kilometers west of Sète, where she lives. Two years of hard work, without water or electricity, just a small track vehicle to prepare the soil. Wine-making process takes place at a friend’s in an open cellar, her only luxury is a vertical wine-press.
First millésime in 2008, a white Chasselas (‘Lady Chasselas’), a curiosity in Languedoc, and a red, an assembly she names ‘Far Ouest.’ In 2012, a new cuvée of pure Carignan is born, ‘Rita’, and other projects are on the way. Myriam’s entire vineyard operates under organic agriculture (‘Qualité France’), yield is about 17hl/hectare, no input, except an infinitesimal quantity of SO2 (inferior to 10mg/liter). The wines are not filtered, never in contact with wood, and alcohol level is under control (13°). Vinification is soft, with minimal intervention. An additional proof of the fact that wine