Domaine Gérard Julien

 

The New Wave of Burgundy

A word from Jason Haynes, Burgundy Buyer

Burgundy has been seeing a new wave of dynamic young producers taking over the helm at their family estates, and while many are good, a few have caught our attention completely. Among these exemplary new winemakers is Etienne Julien of Domaine Gérard Julien et Fils, who took over in 2012 from his father. Our buying policy is simple - we don't buy wines unless we love them and have confidence that the winemaker will continue to produce excellent wines, and we hit both points with this gem of an estate. Etienne makes wines so confidently that you would assume he had much more experience under his belt than the 6 years since he took over running the winery. We added Etienne's wines to our portfolio two years ago and haven't looked back.

This month, we revisited the 2015s from this young winemaker, and we couldn't be happier with the results. We're thrilled to be able to offer a small parcel of the 2015s from Etienne to our Stannary St Wine Co. customers, and we only wish there were more to go around.

Jason Hayne's 2015 Vintage Report
Originally published January 2016

Comparisons with 2009 red wines are inaccurate. The 2015s are much fresher, purer, more Pinot in style. There are several reasons for this, including two climatic ones. Firstly, temperatures never reached the uncomfortable levels that they did in 2009. Sure, it was warm and sunny, but there weren’t endless days over 40 degrees. Secondly, the warm weather arrived that bit earlier in 2015 and not when the sugar levels in the grapes were ready to rocket which helped keep potential alcohol levels in check. There were human factors, too. Lessons had clearly been learned from 05 and 09 and the grapes and juice were generally much more sensitively handled. Pigeage (punching down) was much more sparingly carried out than usual by many growers, who understood that they didn’t need to force the extraction as there was so much natural concentration and matter in the wine already. The effects of malolactic fermentation were much less dramatic than normal as there wasn’t much malic acid to begin with. Final PHs were lower than expected and generally at a good level. So we ended up with wines of undoubted seduction even succulence but, generally, always controlled and respectful of their cépage, region and vineyard. The natural concentration I mentioned earlier has resulted in the entry level wines being gorgeously approachable and enticing whilst the more serious Crus have the stuffing to go the long haul. Some wines will close down and need time, others will remain open and inviting throughout their youth and into middle age. We may just have a vintage that suits both drinkers and collectors alike, allowing both to buy with confidence and abandon. Certainly the entry level wines should be snapped up wherever possible. A couple of times a decade we have a vintage in which one should go long on these humble Pinots and there has never been a more appropriate one than this. I am not sure I have ever scored so many Bourgognes and village wines so well from so many domaines.




Etienne Julien Comblanchien Nuits St Georges


 

Comblanchien

Comblanchien is a small village just below Nuits-St-Georges that is perhaps overlooked in the shadow of the big names nearby, but is home to several excellent producers. With only approximately 65ha of vines, this village is quite small - winemakers like Etienne Julien craft wines from nearby Nuit-St-Georges; his lovely Côte de Nuits Villages does come from a range of Comblanchien plots that yield excellent wine.

Comblanchien is famously mined for the Pierre de Comblanchien pink-veined marble in a series of iconic quarries by the village.

Etienne Julien of Domaine Gérard Julien et Fils

Based in Comblanchien, just to the south of Nuits-St-Georges, Etienne took over from his father in 2012 and has quickly got people excited about the wines he is crafting. He is the fifth generation, his family beginning back in 1882! Despite currently working out of fairly cramped cellars (no doubt a new cuverie will be requisitioned soon!) Etienne has an enviable assurance and confidence about his winemaking. He prefers using concrete vats to stainless steel ones and is not afraid of new oak, athough he doesn't overdo it. He has some lovely plots with plenty of old vines and likes to make the most of their innate concentration, which means he doesn't have to force the wines or overwork them. Consequently, they have a delicious approachability yet also a depth and intensity that suggests longevity, too. All in all, this is an exciting domaine that is winning fans hand over fist and it's easy to see why. 

photo credit: copyright Jon Wyand



 
Domaine Gerard Julien Cotes de Nuits Villages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Côtes de Nuits Villages

From vines in Comblanchien, this is aged half in tank and half in barrel. This is very much in the fruit driven style with polished silky tannin and lots of red and black fruits. Already very delicious. Drink from 2018.

 

2015 Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Saint-Julien’

Saint - Julien sits just to the north of the village and this wine has both extra weight and extra finesse. A hint of femininity and nicely poised. Drink from 2019.

 

2015 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Bousselots

Bousselots lies to the north of Nuits on the Vosne side where the wines tend to be glossier and perhaps more fragrant and this is certainly in that camp.

 

2015 Echezeaux Grand Cru

From a quarter of an hectare of ‘Les Treux,’ this is a wine of potential and size. Currently showing some toast (100% new oak) there are glossy tannins and good concentration lurking beneath the showy surface. Very limited sadly. Drink from 2022.

     
     
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