It was a cool, rainy, foggy morning in March on my first day in Saumur that I had the pleasure to make Bruno Dubois’ acquaintance. He’s a gentle, thoughtful, soulful man and his warmth immediately brightened the otherwise gloomy start. In addition to making superb Saumur Champigny red wines and a small quantity of Saumur Blanc, Bruno’s loves include gardening and cooking. His kitchen, which doubles as his tasting room, is professional in terms of the equipment, with the large gas stove, hanging pots and pans and large prep table, but has a laid back, old world charm in terms of its feel. The wine and food vibe in Bruno’s home was unmistakable.
Bruno took the reins and three hectares from his father and uncle back in 2002. Today, Bruno works just under 10 hectares in Saumur Champigny devoted to Cabernet Franc. He has a tiny bit of Chenin Blanc from Saumur as well. A majority of Bruno’s production is sold off as a means to support the vinification of his own wines at his own pace. A strategy that seems to be paying dividends. He has been working organically since 2009 and received his certification in 2012. Bruno continues to push himself and today he works entirely biodynamically, just like his close friend Thierry Germain at Domaine des Roches Neuves. All of Bruno’s wines go into bottle unfined and unfiltered.
Saumur Champigny continues to go through a renaissance. Twenty years ago there were the Foucault brothers working in a natural, sustainable way turning out the giant of the region Clos Rougeard. Many others at the time were over cropping, and creating wine that was drinkable for sure, but lacked a connection to where it was from. That has slowly changed over time thanks to the likes of Thierry Germain and others. As appreciation for the work of these pioneers in Saumur Champigny gained attention, major change took hold. Vignernons started working organically, resulting in lower yields and riper raw material, all with a goal of crafting wines of place and purpose but never seeking over-ripeness or over-extraction. Bruno is the next generation, keen to make wine his way. Wines that are pure, refined, and pleasing. Along with the likes of Eric Dubois, Bruno’s cousin, Antoine Sanzay, and Mathieu Vallee at ChateauYvonne, Bruno is the next generation in Saumur Champigny. A generation taking the good from earlier pioneers and building on it!