Buvance has filled its Roussillon selection with new releases from Bruno Duchêne And Joachim Roque, both based in Banyuls-sur-Mer, more precisely in 9 Caves, place where they make wine. Finally, to be more fair, Joachim has just left 9 Caves to settle in Saint-André, but it is here that he vinified his first vintages.
Part of our team knows Banyuls well and has its summer habits there. So we wanted to tell you a little bit about this enclave.
Banyuls-sur-Mer is a small town located in the heart of the Côte Vermeille, just a few kilometers from the Spanish border. It is a destination known for lovers of the seabed since the Marine Nature Reserve stretching between Banyuls and Cerbère offers crystal clear water and an idyllic setting. Surrounded by steep vineyard hillsides with an optional view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it is also a city where wine is omnipresent.
And the natural fringe is more than worthily represented!
At the same time, what an inspiring terroir! Between sea and mountains, the soil of Banyuls and its surroundings is mainly composed of schist. The latter allows the grapes not to suffer from drought despite the incredible sunshine they benefit from and the very little rain they receive annually. Banyuls are terraced vines supported by dry stone walls which also have the function of conducting rainwater and thus helping to combat erosion. This landscape prevents any mechanization, the soils and the vines are worked by hand power.
To return to the 9 Caves: it is a unique and atypical place which is important in the town.
It's a beautiful story that started in 2015, from the will of 13 people who came together to buy a building formerly housing the Abbé Rous cellar, which produces (still today) and markets wines from AOC Collioure and Banyuls.
13 enthusiasts therefore, who had the desire to transform this place to create a true temple of life around the experience of wine. 9 alcoves are created, to create 9 cellars - hence the name The 9 Caves-. But that's not all !
Les 9 Caves is also a wine merchant's activity, it's the first thing you notice once you pass through the doors. Since rows of bottles pile up to the ceiling. A cutting-edge selection, promoting the profusion of local natural viticulture (but not only), inviting you to do your best holiday shopping or to choose a reference to uncover on site.
It's a restaurant, as you can guess from the apparent kitchen in the central island and the tables set up inside, but especially in the large patio where it's nice to sit down after a day spent exploring the richness of the local seabed. It is also at the bottom of this terrace, behind the large forged gate there, that the famous cellars are hidden.
And finally, these are lodgings, 3 to be exact, labeled Gîtes de France. Designed in sustainable and ecological materials, they finalize this design of a place of gathering, of life, built with the perspective of promoting wine tourism.
Bruno Duchêne is a charismatic and joking guy, known for his crazy wines! He has a central place at 9 Caves since he is quite simply at the origin of the project. We remember one of our first meetings with him, he told us that, inspired by his native Loire, he likes to taste wines with tension. This is what drives him with this exceptional Banyulenc terroir: grapes bursting with sunshine, of course, but with which he manages to make juices of remarkable freshness and minerality.
Joachim Roque, for his part, is part of the new local generation. He's a guy from land, since he is originally from Collioure and he has always been immersed in wine since his family owns 20 hectares of vines stretching from Collioure to Saint-André. They grow grapes which they then sell to cooperatives or to friendly winegrowers. Bruno is one of the latter and got him started by encouraging him to also make wine. The reflection took hold and he decided to undertake viticultural studies. His vision: the future of the Côte Vermeille vineyard must go organic. His talent is remarkable and we will closely follow what he has to offer us year after year.
Outside the framework of the 9 Caves, but emblematic gentleman of wine, we are obliged to mention Alain Castex, who recently passed away. With his partner, he is at the origin of Casot des Mailloles, which has for several years been taken over by Jordi Pérez. Alain continued his adventure with the Vins du Cabanon estate. Certain vintages like Canta Manana or Poudre d’Escampette are frankly legendary. Alain, his vision and his work will be, and are already, missed.
To have a good stay in Banyuls, it seems essential to us to mention another place, which clearly stands out: El Xadic del Mar. This tiny enclave has been full every evening for several years. Held by Manu (formerly of Verre Volé returned to land), who is often alone at the helm, it is a cellar offering a selection of skittles that will delight the most demanding but above all a restaurant offering generous plates, local products, and lots of delicacies. A mecca of conviviality. Moreover, there is only one service and guests must wait until all reservations have arrived for the evening's menu to be announced.
We hope that this presentation will make you want to explore the Côte Vermeille, its treasures, and the wine culture that surrounds it. And in the meantime, discovery can be made through the wines of Bruno, Joachim and their neighbors: this way !