Patrick Bouju (Domaine de la Bohème)

Patrick Bouju (formerly an engineer at IBM) of Domaine de la Bohème has quickly become a huge cult legend. Since 2004 he has had a few small orchards in the Auvergne, which is a more unknown wine region in central France. Despite (and perhaps because of) the region's relative anonymity, this is a region where winemakers like Patrick do what feels right to them in an idiosyncratic way. Patrick has Justine by his side, and the two of them pretty much do all the work in the orchards, cellar and office.

Patrick has orchards located around Saint-Georges-sur-Allier, in the commune of Glaines-Montaigut, some of which are about 120 years old. In addition to a number of different types of Gamay (including Gamay d'Auvergne), there are many 'unknown' old-fashioned varieties such as Mirefleurien and Limberger in various orchards. Because many of these varieties are mixed in the orchards, they also end up in the wines as blends, which provides richness and complexity in the wines. Patrick has also been working without chemicals since day one and never adds sulfites anywhere.

Patrick has also had to contend with bad harvests in recent years, as a result of which he has bought grapes in many of the vintages from winemakers friends who work in a way that he and Justine support. That is why Patrick has also made wines from grapes from the south of France, from Beaujolais and from the Loire. Patrick always knows how to let the minerality and the spicy touch speak, and he has such a handle on winemaking that everything is extremely drinkable and energetic. His own wines are distinctly Auvergnat, and the wines he makes from purchased grapes still have the peppery, fresh energy that his domaine wines have.

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