Mourinho has been known to rub a number of Premier League coaches up the wrong way, but Bruce only has positive things to say about the Portuguese, who takes his Chelsea side to Hull on Sunday.
Bruce believes the mutual respect between the pair goes back to when Mourinho, during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, loaned and then sold Finnish striker Mikael Forssell to Birmingham City - then managed by the current KC Stadium chief.
"He gave me Mikael Forssell a long time ago at Birmingham and I think I sent him a crate of red to say thank you," he said. "I think he enjoyed my taste in red wine."
Bruce also insists there is more to Mourinho than meets the eye.
"What you see is not what you get," he continued. "He's a really good football man and, when you call him, he has always tried to help me.
"When you're a young manager, which I was at the time, and you're needing a favour - the same goes for [Arsenal manager Arsene] Wenger too - they've always done me a favour, so that stays with me.
"No matter what you think of him - if you ring him, he'll always call me back and for that I'll always be grateful.
"Whenever they [Chelsea] come to town, I've always got the hugest respect for what he's done, what he's achieved and what he is, because I do believe he is box office.
"I believe we're better off with him being in the Premier League, even though Chelsea were maybe easier to beat when he wasn't involved."
Asked whether he would share a glass of red wine with Mourinho following Sunday's match, Bruce added: "Will I get any nice stuff here? I'll have to get a bottle from 'Booze Hut' over the road."
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