Recerca is in the north of Catalonia, part of the Corbières Catalan in south-west France. The landscape is 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 and in 2009 they opened Les Indigènes in Perpignan. Here they met Laurent, who describes the bar as a revolution of flavour and sharing; a social place that winemakers frequented, full of generosity, inspiration and new ideas. Zulu wines began as a collaborative effort, using négoce grapes to create exciting cuvées suggested by Chris and Laurent. A year later, Chris tragically passed away. Les Indigènes closed and Zulu shifted to a different focus. Jess joined the project and, with Laurent, realised that vinification was something they wanted to pursue. In 2018, Recerca was born. 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 vines ranging from approximately 6 – 70 years. Although the soil is mainly calcareous clay and schist, the different plots offer a range of terroir.
Mas Samsō and Terres Noires highlight this difference in soil, with both retaining great minerality. They are both made with 100% Macabeu, harvested from plots 1km apart. The vinification is also identical: the grapes were harvested at the same level of maturity, direct pressed and aged for 8 months in steel tanks. Mas Samsō is grown on clay, producing a richer, more creamy, rounded wine which is both fruity and bitter. Terres Noires is from black schist made from clay compressed by the Pyrenees. It is a wine which oscillates between reduction and oxidation. Be sure to decant both before drinking.