While having already garnered cult status in the natural wine scene, Patrick Bouju was flying under the mainstream radar until a wild party in Paris a few years back where he debuted a collab wine he made with chef/natural wine bon vivant, Action Bronson... Et voila! A hype-beast was born. But first some backstory.
Bouju decided to study winemaking in Beaune after being introduced to the world of natural wine while rubbing shoulders with some on the sons of France's already well established lo-fi scene in the army. In 2002, he started accumulating small parcels of vines made up of seemingly forgotten French varieties in and around the Auverge region of France (a feat not easily done considering most vineyards were decimated by phylloxera and both World Wars). Come 2008, he established Domaine de la Bohème and devoted himself to making minuscule amounts of some seriously thoughtful and yes, fun-delicious wine full-time. While his home base is in Auverge, he does source grapes from Alsace, Savoie, Languedoc, Beaujolais, and incredibly, Greece. While the Greek wine didn’t appear in our allocation (damn!) we have a breadth of wines that represent his most significant work in France.
From where we sit, the hype is well deserved. Yes, these are some of the rarest and most sought after insta-trophy wines in the (natural wine) universe but for good cause. They deliver highly memorable experiences as they're distinct with their humming electric acidity, purity of fruit character and strong sense of minerality balanced by gentle savouriness. While Bouju is perhaps most synonymous with the playful but quietly complex pet nats under his Festejar! range he weaves his magic across a multitude of styles.
A stellar release indeed - fizzy, orange and reds. Oh my. Delicate but densely packed with flavour. Each wine shows a pulse of that minerality for which his wines are renowned. The pet nats are as good as any he has released. The detail and interest in these wines is ultra high. Swoon, we’re in love. Hopefully we can keep some for ourselves...