Small vineyard holder finds success after growing sales via word of mouth
Bru who owns Domaine Mylène Bru – Lady Chasselas bought six hectares of land to grow four-and-a-half hectares of vines in Saint-Pargoire, in the Occitanie region in the south of France 10 years ago and what started as a passion has turned into a thriving business.
“10 years ago I bought this vineyard and what touched me most was that the land was very wild. It has beautiful views over the countryside, and I felt an emotional connection to the land. It touched me and I felt that this is the place where I want to make wine,” said Bru.
“I began with just the vines, no electricity, no water and a mezzanine. I had a little bit of space but just enough to begin and I installed a cellar four years ago. The principle is to cultivate the grapes to make good wine. At the beginning I had to focus and not listen to the opinion of others and follow my instincts.”
The estate produces from 15,000-20,000 bottles a year, depending on the harvest and the stable cuvées include Far Ouest, Rita, Cartouche, Les Moulins De Mon Coeur and Franquette.
The red grape varieties include; Carignan (40%), Tempranillo (5%), Cinsault(5%), Grenache noir (30%), Marselan (5%), Syrah (15%) and white grape varieties : Chasselas (50%) and Marsanne (50%).
Chasselas is unusual for the Languedoc because it is better known in the Haute-Savoie in eastern France, in the obscure appellation of Pouilly-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley near Sancerre where it is the only permissible grape variety, and in Switzerland.
Bru believes local artisan producers are becoming wider acknowledged in the region, aside from the well-known domaines in Pic Saint-Loup and there is room in the market for locally produced organic or ‘natural wine’, which wasn’t always traditionally the case.
The six hectares of land are interspersed with trees, lavender and wild flowers set amongst a typical Mediterranean countryside and it is this which gives the wine its unique character.
Bru, who runs the estate with her partner Bruno Barwise, currently exports a small quantity of her wine to London, Helsinki, Berlin, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, NYC, LA, Tasmania, Hong Kong, and Toronto.
On one occasion chef Ed Wilson who owns Brawn restaurant in London offered a bottle of her red Far Ouest to renowned DJ Gilles Peterson. Peterson organises the music festival Worldwide Festival in Sète every year.
Domaine Mylène Bru is now the sole supplier of organic wine to the festival.
“After many years of searching we finally started working with Mylène Bru who has been a regular at the festival for several years. We will introduce a special Worldwide Festival cuvée next year,” said Peterson.
“Mylène Bru is a winemaker based in the village of Saint-Pargoire, in the Languedoc region of France. Although she comes from a family of winemakers, she broke away to establish her own vineyard and produce wine to biodynamic standards.”
Bru was born in Corbières. Her grandparents had a vineyard and she would help her grandmother prune the vines. She went on to study oenology in Montpellier and her first job was in public relations for wine in Paris.
Her domaine has now reached the heights of celebrity status after French actress Catherine Deneuve ordered 12 bottles of Rita ahead of the Cannes Film Festival.