In life, sometimes there’s a series of sliding doors scenarios, when things seem to fall into place serendipitously; when life takes you on a path you weren’t expecting. Whether or not you believe in fate, there’s no denying that Pauline Broqua’s passion — combined with meeting likeminded people in the right place and at the right time — led her to where she’s destined to be. That place is Domaine de Buis, in the remote northern Aveyron.
Despite initially being a city girl, this remote part of southwest France captured her heart. Soon, she discovered that it was no longer cobbled streets and bars calling her name, but rather fauna, flora and the vines. In 2017, when a vigneron with a small domaine (and without successors) was planning his retirement, it was perfect timing. You guessed it — she hasn’t looked back, and Domaine des Buis is now Pauline’s life.
People: Pauline Broqua
Place: Entraygues-sur-Truyère, northern Aveyron, SW France
Varieties: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Fer Servadou, Négret de Banhars and Mouyssaguès
Did You Know? It was natural wine that captured Pauline’s attention, initially through the taste of the wines. Living in Toulouse, her local wine shop was Le Temps des Vendanges, owned by a man named Éric Cuestas, who is well-known for his efforts to spread the word and love of organically farmed and naturally made wines.
Pauline creates her cuvées according to her parcels. She explains,
“Making wine parcel-by-parcel follows a logic which is at the basis of my vision of natural wine. You might ask why… Well, for me, natural wine is the only way to portray a terroir. That was a vision that was passed onto me, and one that I believe in and agree with.”
As her vineyards are planted on varying types of granite; some more sandy and others siltier, she wishes to capture this essence in the bottle. She says,
“It takes time to understand your terroir, which is also why I vinify according to parcel. I really discovered a terroir here; one that barely exists for consumers anymore, as it’s become almost unknown. Many winemakers in the area use a lot of additions, and lab-cultured yeasts, so I wanted to do the opposite; to transmit the terroir in the most hands-off way possible. That’s what my work is about; intervening as little as I can in winemaking. I try to rather accompany the wines, so they can express themselves in the simplest way possible. I don’t think we can demonstrate a terroir when we add lab-cultured yeasts… or alter the acidity by adding tartaric acid… But on the other hand, I also don’t think that a wine with too much volatile acidity or brettanomyces shows its terroir, either.”
Ultimately, her approach is about assessing her soils, tasting the grapes, and experimenting; all to figure out how to best allow her terroirs to express themselves. She muses,