Recerca / Zulu
Domaine Recerca and Zulu Vins
Jess Albero and Laurent Pujol
We visited Jess and Laurent from in Roussillon in October 2021. The landscape is very dry and the vineyards are surrounded by scrubland, wild olive trees and rock. Christophe Albero and Laurent Pujol founded Zulu wines here in 2015, a project which was born in a wine bar in Perpignan, and led to the creation of Recerca.
Chris and his wife Jess discovered natural wine in Paris at a time when such wines were far lesser known than they are today. In 2009 they opened Les Indigenes in Perpignan, a bar serving natural wines where they met Laurent, who had worked in vineyards as a youngster. He describes the bar as being a revolution of flavour and sharing; a social place that winemakers themselves frequented, full of generosity, inspiration and new ideas surrounding winemaking.
In 2015 Zulu wines began, with the vision to collaborate with local winemakers (such as Tom Lubbe at Matassa, Gille Troullier, Sébastien Agelet at De Mena) and use négoce grapes to create exciting cuvées. Chris and Laurent would propose a cuvée, that would then be vinified either by the winemaker or by themselves. A year later, Chris tragically passed away. Les Indigenes closed and Zulu shifted to a different focus. Jess joined the project and, with Laurent, realised that vinification was something they enjoyed. They began to make their own, very small batches of wines, followed slowly by their own cellar, vines and a small tractor. In this manner, Recerca arrived in 2018.
Recerca is the Catalan word for ‘research’ and this is clearly a priority for Jess and Laurent. Zulu continues as a free and experimental project, while Recerca concentrates on more defined cuvées. The combination of the two projects gives them the chance to engage with a steeper learning curve. Recerca totals 7 hectares, planted with Macabeu, Muscat Petits Grains, Muscat of Alexandria, Mourvedre and three types of Grenache. Vines range from approximately 6 - 70 years; from teenager to grandmother. Although the soil is mainly calcareous clay and schist, the different plots offer a range of terroir and even weather.
Jess and Laurent are searching for harmony in their wines. All wines are based on different grape varieties and Laurent describes the process of assemblage to music making and mixing. Their „Version“ wine is a perfect example of this process. We admire their wines for the light touch, the melody and harmony.