Michel & Sylvain Tête


DSC00322Tasted in Juliénas with Michel Tête, 20 May 2016.

Michel & Sylvain Tête
“Les Gonnards”
69840 Juliénas
Tel: +33 4 74 04 41 62

Michel Tête’s grandfather, Françis Tête, was a cooper and also the cellar manager here, but he managed to acquire this operation in the financial crisis of the 1950s. The domaine then moved on to his son, Raymond, and it was Raymond who pioneered selling the domaine’s wine direct from the property. In 1980, Michel and his wife Françoise took over, and in 1988 founded the ‘Domaine du Clos du Fief’ – named after the parcel of that name that sits across the road from the domaine. Today their son, Sylvain, is working with mother and father – he was on a USA ‘tour’ when I visited – the wines once taken by Dressner are now imported into the US by Skurnik.

At the moment, the domaine exploits 14 hectares; including 1 hectare in St.Amour’s Les Capitains and 6 hectares of Julienas. Michel explains that they prefer to do plough between the vines, though in some places there remains a little herbicide. So far this year they had experienced no frost, but a hint of hail. 1850-1880 is the construction date of their impressive cellar. Grandfather of Michel was the regisseur of the cellar.

The domaine exports about 50% of its produce.

The wines…

Good to very good wines in this cellar.

2015 Beaujolais Villages
From Julié.
A deep nose, a hint powdery but also with florals too. Wide, bright, fine intensity, then a burst of finishing flavour. Super length – very 2015, but really nothing negative to say, simply a lovely wine.

2014 Beaujolais Villages Vieilles Vignes
Different shape bottle, wax topped. Vinified in wooden tanks
Pyrazine is my first thought, though it accentuates the floral aspects of the wine. Round, mouth-filling – really lovely in the mouth, despite quite some pyrazine here too. Impressively made wine.

2014 Beaujolais Villages (Tradition)
A hint less pyrazine, flowers and lovely red fruit. Wide, fresh, good intensity, a small rasp of tannin, but really here is a lovely energy and delivery of flavour – tasty!

2014 Juliénas (Tradition)
30% destemming
A tighter nose, a faint flash of pyrazine and flowers. Wide, fresh, multi-dimensional flavour. Not the biggest or most intense, but really a fine joie de vivre. Lovely wine – excellent in the finish really the best part.

2014 Juliénas Vieilles Vignes Cuvée Prestige
1.5 ha of old vines from 3 parcels, traditionally vinified with whole clusters but half vinified in barrel. Bottled Feb/March
There’s still a note of pyrazine here, but what a wonderful nose of flowers and pretty fruit – bravo! Round but fresh, really tons of flavour dimension. There’s a little oak here in the mid-palate but really on (for Beaujolais!) a low-level. Really a super wine with a lovely finish..

2014 Juliénas Tête de Cuvée,
To be bottled next week – all destemmed, 18-24 months in barrel, not made every year.
This smells fine, wide, fresh indeed quite modest despite its implied depth. Wide, supple, but honestly too much vanilla flavour. I love how it feels in the mouth and there’s fine energy and acidity. Finishes very well. The last drops in the glass have a really wonderful perfume though with obvious oak…

2013 Juliénas Tradition
Deep, beautiful nose of ripe fruit and flowers – lovely! Bright, complex, energetic, mouth-filling with excellent intensity. A touch more from the tannin but really a super wine – bravo!

2014 St Amour Les Capitains
A single parcel – with a longer cuvaison of 17 days.
A pretty fruit with really a lot of depth but quite tight. Round, pyrazine, fruit, and flowers. Plenty of structure here, complex, indeed chewy wine. Really a very nice extra dimension of mid-palate flavour too. Tasty wine! Nose opens beautifully with the last drops in the glass…

2011 Juliénas Tradition
Not such a deep colour as many 2011s. A nice wide red fruit – really pretty. Supple, complex, weight of flavour. Lots of interest, I’m enjoying this very much.

2015 Rosé Fleur de Gamay
Full malo – ‘it brings a nice roundness to wine.’
Here is quite a nice nose, delicate red fruits and some energy too. Mouth-filling, fresh, nice flavours. Very good, even some tannin in the finish.

2015 Beaujolais Villages Blanc Fleur de Chardonnay
Next to Saint-Véran
Deep, some floral perfume. Lovely – although rather a perfumed fruit, there’s a nice sweetness to the acidity. A little dense finishing, but rather a tasty wine. Indeed, maybe the tastiest white of my trip!

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