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With vineyards dating back to 910 AD that have been farmed organically since the 1950s, and three generations of experience vinifying without additives, Julien Guillot is producing some of the most unique and delicious natural wines of France. And he is doing so with a refreshing lack of pretension - "I want to make wines for sharing, wines that are convivial and flowing, and for this we try to make our wines in the most natural way possible. We take risks in our vinifications, but the wines must remain easily approachable...silky and velvety, (with) a saline aspect in the finish, that brings a crystalline minerality and a perfect accompaniment to fine cuisine."
The 2020 "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica, giving yields of 20hl/ha. The 2020 "Manganite" is made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium. Both reds are made in a combination of carbonic and normal fermentation, using layers of grapes in whole-clusters and de-stemmed grapes, with zero additives. The 2020 "Aragonite" is made from massale selection Chardonnay grown on limestone with extremely thin clay/silt topsoil giving beautiful minerality to the wine, and is fermented and aged in old foudres "to preserve freshness and to avoid a woody character that we do not seek in our wines." 10 to 20gm/l of SO2 is added depending on the vintage. The glorious 2021 Cuvée 910 is a field blend including Gamay Petits Grains, Pinot Fin and Chardonnay made exactly as wines were made by the monks in 910 AD. Always light and lovely, it's a fascinating natural taste of the earliest Burgundies. All four of these wines are superb to drink now and all but the 910 will cellar for fifteen years or more - they are extraordinary creations that belong in the cellar of anyone who appreciates natural wines!
Wines from outside the Clos in Cruzille are from small organic or Biodynamic parcels in the Mâcon and Beaujolais, vinified with the same techniques. Of particular note in today's email is the lovely 2019 Mâcon-Villages which is a superb white Burgundy for current enjoyment or cellaring for ten to fifteen years - only ten cases are available so don't delay...
These unique wines are seldom available in the US, and quantites are small...
Of course there have been shipping delays, the wines are now scheduled for mid-August arrival. 10% case discounts apply.
(Mid-August arrival) Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this lovely Mâcon-Villages (100% Chardonnay) from certified organic parcels in Viré-Clessé, Chardonnay and Montbellet, on Bathonian limestone with clay, rich in silica. Minimal SO2 is added before bottling. The nose opens with bright lemon and cool mineral notes. An hour later after opening up in the glass, nutty, toasty notes and green melon come to the fore. On the palate, the initial notes were of high acid, spritzy citrus and a pronounced leesiness. After an hour in the glass, the palate skewed richer with more of the toasty, nutty notes found on the nose balancing out the high acid citrus notes. The finish is long and concentrated from the 20 months on the lees. As the wine has just landed from France, give it a week or two to settle and give it an hour decant open opening, the wine will reward you for your patience! Giselle Hamburg
(Mid August arrival) Julien Guillot's 2019 "les Crays" is 100% Pinot Noir from 40 year-old vines in this very chalky vineyard in the Macon, vinified with zero added sulfur. It has a dark red core with clear violet edges. It's bright and grassy, with aromas of rhubarb, herbs, mint, plus clean black cherry and raspberry fruit. Smells of flowers and spice develop after an hour open. The palate is high-toned, with crisp cranberry, bright minerals and a dash of bitterness. On the finish, a lovely touch of ginger lingers. With time, the wine becomes plummier, but never loses its healthy edge. Great acidity and light tannin. Drink now over an evening, but don't hesitate to cellar. David Hatzopoulos
(Mid August arrival) Carved from vineyards once owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and farmed organically by Julien Guillot's family since 1954, Clos Vignes du Maynes is one of the most distinctive growers in Burgundy. Aragonite comes from 40- to 80-year-old massale-selection Chardonnay vines high on the slope, on thin soils of clay, crystallized limestone, and laced with other minerals. This wine is incredibly aromatic upon opening with aromas of golden pear, green apple, apricot, white grapefruit, honeysuckle, and bergamot; there is a hint of earthy heather honey and butterscotch. On the palate it is quite rich and luscious, in this warm low-yielding vintage, and much more tropical and salty than in years past. In fact, if tasted blind, I could see this being mistaken for a great Chardonnay from the Jura as it has fantastic acidity, and is beautifully textured, long, and mineral. On day two the aromas have softened a bit, and the palate has gained an added savory note that contributes to a still stunningly long finish. The 2020 Aragonite is not to be missed.
(Mid August arrival) Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2020s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2020 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended!
(Mid August arrival) The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic fermentation, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. 2020 is a superb vintage for the Cuvée Auguste! The wine shows elegant aromas of black raspberry and wild strawberry with hints of blood orange, violet and brown spice - really lovely. The palate shows a beautiful melange of blackberry, strawberry and tart cherry with citrus, earth and minerals, very sappy and dense. Elegant finish of earth, stone and red fruits. This is a gorgeous wine, and quite delicious now, but cellaring of ten to twenty years should be possible.
(Mid August arrival) Starting with beautiful biodynamic grapes from Roland Pignard on "les Charmes" in Morgon, Julien worked his magic in the cellar with his zero-sulfur semi-carbonic vinification and the result is this superb Morgon from great terroir. The wine shows the ripeness of this excellent vintage in Beaujolais and the intense flavors of terroir always present in the Pignard wines over the years. Julien's vinification has created a beautifully balanced and pretty wine with fabulous length - drink now or cellar 5 to 10 years. DL
(mid-August arrival) This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were carefully hand-harvested then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. Zero added SO2.