Les Grangeons de l’Alberine, Bugey

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Luc Bauer’s domaine, Les Grangeons de l’Albarine, is about as small as it gets. It’s a one-man show, encompassing all of 2 hectares in the Coteau d’Argis district of Bugey. Even at its height in the late 19th Century, this region was home to only about 100 hectares of vines, but today viticulture has been virtually abandoned, except by Luc and a handful of other dedicated vignerons. Luc’s vines are old, averaging around 60 years, and mainly set on the bare, stony slopes of the Albarine Valley above the town of Argis. The terroir is Jurassic limestone and the topsoil is little more than eroded and decomposed limestone. With the steep slopes and exposed rock, the vineyards receive considerably more heat throughout the year than the surrounding landscape, providing a longer growing season than would otherwise be possible. Luc’s winery is a “grangeon,” a small stone barn that was originally intended to house tractors and other farming equipment. All work in the winery is natural and with minimal intervention. Luc owns a couple of small steel tanks, but most fermentations take place in neutral oak.