Tasted in Juliénas with Isabelle Pecoud, 14 July 2017.
Cave de Juliénas Chaintré
Château du Bois de la salle
Tel : +33 4 74 04 42 61
The Cave Juliénas dates from 1961 – one of last to be created – but this was, economically, a very difficult time for sales, hence the need for the cave. For the last three years they have been associated with Cave Chaintré who make whites – for sales, the two caves share the wine that they produce, so are the only caves with a foot in both Mâconnais and the Beaujolais.
For reds, this cave is the largest producer of Juliénas with 25% of the appellations production. They also have about 14-15 hectares of St.Amour – which has never had its own cave cooperative – and lots of Beaujolais Villages from Julié. The cave has about 30 suppliers for the whites and 60 for the reds, amounting to roughly 290 hectares – so a modest size for a cooperative, but still with a large product-line to offer visitors. There is some export from here, but about 55% is sold through négoce channels and the rest commercialised by the cave.
Isabelle explains that there are a variety of wine styles in St.Amour, their Juliénas typically being a more spicy wine. They make two cuvées here, a ‘traditional’ and a selection called Pierres where the soil is much more stony. They are looking for black fruit from long cuvaisons that are 75% whole cluster and 25% machine harvested – so that latter part, naturally, destemmed. For machine harvesting, a trellising is required, rather than the traditional goblet pruning. There are two vignerons who have trained the goblets higher. In the fermentation tanks it is a ‘layered approach’ with layers of whole clusters with layers of destemmed fruit. The elevage tanks are part enamel and part cement – but vinifications are in stainless-steel. Normally the bottling would be in March or April. Isabelle notes that “If you want to preserve the gamay fruit, it’s necessary to bottle relatively earlier, because if you go longer it is more of a pinot-style aromatic.”
Interestingly for an operation such as this, they have been working for quite some time on reducing the amount of SO2 in their wines – they even have some ‘natural’ cuvées now – but right across their range, the is less use of sulfur.
I came away with such a positive impression of the wines from this co-operative – I could even liken them to ‘the red version of La Chablisienne’ such was the impression from the wines and talking with Isabelle – and goes without saying that the prices are on the floor versus the quality. Worth a special detour to stock-up!
An interesting quote from Isabelle was that “In 2015 the quantity of anthocyanins was higher than ever seen, including in the vintages of 2009 and 2011.”
A high-toned nose, perfumed, redder fruit in support. Lots of volume in the mouth, growing intensity and really a fine energy – no hard edges but a wine of intensity and a fading, more saline quality. Long, long, great. €7.90!
2015 Juliénas Tradition du Bois de la Salle
A bigger, more spiced nose. Supple, a different shape, wider, but a growing intensity. Also with a growing intensity in the finish with a little salinity. Darker fruited and more spiced but delicious.
Old vine selection, traditional vinification – no heating and elevage in cement tanks.
A less overt nose, perhaps silky, more sweetness of fruit, a little extra intensity, mouth-watering. There’s a little more line here, more linear in the finish. Holds really well. Super stuff! Bravo.
2016 Chiroubles La Montagne
Really a bright freshness of gamay fruit (chiroubles fruit?!) with flowers bundled together. Really a nice volume of delicious flavour, the volume in the mouth is just as good as a 2015 but it’s the intensity that has a different, more modest, level.