Thanks to the kind folks at Rosenthal Wine Merchant for the use of their photo.

A Genius in Jonquières: Olivier Jullien.

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My awareness of Mas Jullien dates back to a period of scholarship that consisted of long afternoons reading about wine in the fall sunshine. This was exactly five years ago and I was reading Andrew Jefford’s The New France, a book that may seem a bit dated today, but nonetheless contains much relevant material about the wine regions of France and their top producers. After describing Olivier Jullien as “mercurial, poetic, and intuitive,” Jefford goes on to tell the story of a young vigneron with deep roots in the Languedoc who saw the potential to make high quality wine on his native terroir, when the majority of the region’s wine was mass-produced plonk. Jullien began with his family’s vines, but soon looked to acquire additional parcels in and around Jonquières on the steep, limestone-rich and schist-heavy Terraces of Larzac. He found the means to vinify and bottle his own wine when previously his family had sold to the local cooperative. Jullien is known for two red wines: a pure, age-worthy, and stately expression of Mas Jullien, and a fruitier and more forward Coteaux du Langeudoc called “L’États d’Âme” or “States of the Soul,” a wine that often features one of Jullien’s poems on the label.  Currently the Languedoc is in the midst of the Renaissance. The region now boasts many exciting new vignerons, but at the time Jullien began, he was one of a very few, and he remains one of the very best. In an attempt to understand the wines of Mas Jullien, I bought a bottle of “States of Soul” at what seemed to me, as a burgeoning wine professional, a very high price for Languedoc wine, and I recall the deep funk of the region’s soil knit into the wild, garrique-y nature of the wine.

If Jullien’s red wines are great, his white wine – made in miniscule quantities – is a revelation; it’s the sort of juice that makes us white wine lovers weak in the knees, longing for another sip and struggling for words. The cépage is a traditional blend of southern French varieties: Clairette, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier, with a northern interloper: Chenin Blanc. Clairette and Carignan Blanc form the base of the wine, with the other varieties adding depth and nuance. The wine is raised in a combination of barrel and tank and, while absolutely delicious young, develops beautifully in the cellar. We have the opportunity to offer three vintages of Mas Jullien Blanc; each wine shows the distinct character of vintage, as well as the essential character of the wine. In order to urge you either to remember, or to discover for the first time, what a special winemaker Olivier Jullien is, we’d like to extend a 10% discount on any combination of six bottles from today’s offer, and we’ll discount cases by 15%. (Note: discounts will be applied manually and will not appear when ordering via the website.) Detailed notes to follow… Salut! -Sophie     

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Mas Jullien 2008 VdP Herault Blanc

While we loved the openness and succulence of 2009 Mas Jullien Blanc, it'll come as no surprise that many of our panelists here at CSW preferred the cooler vintage of this wine. 2008 Mas Jullien Blanc has a greener, fresher streak with more lemon and lemon curd than 2009, but with the same length and intensity on the palate. None of these wines is "hot" in the sense of "high alcohol," and this one weighs in at a moderate 13%. Absolutely delicious.  -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

Mas Jullien 2007 VdP Herault Blanc

If we had to recommend one of these three vintages of Mas Jullien Blanc to drink tonight, we would suggest the 2007 because it's beginning to show where this wine goes with age. The honeyed, fleshy fruits of 2009 are mellowing into waxier, roastier, yellow fruits and the citrus-y, tangy acid and light. minerally bitterness to the finish are coming more to the wine's forefront.  From alluvial limestone and schist soil, this wine offers more of an exercise in minerality than the other two wines, and it is truly open for business and drinking very well. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $38.99

Mas Jullien 2008 Coteaux du Languedoc Les états d'âme du Mas Jullien

With more Grenache in the blend than the Syrah-heavy, self-titled Mas Jullien, "States of the Soul" is a wine that offers quite possibly my favorite qualities of Languedoc wine: notes of tiny, drying, dark berries such as blackberries and black currants with hints of funk and abundant brushy garrigue. 2008, a lighter vintage in the region, lends freshness to the wine, and the tannins are in perfect balance, the finish like a delightful coda completing the experience. -msb   

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  • red
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  • $28.99

Mas Jullien 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc

This is a very well-balanced wine for the vintage and the region. The nose shows the black pepper of Syrah along with a Bordeaux-ish leatheriness in spite of its hailing from the Mediterranean rather than the Atlantic. The palate, however, is broad and open with sweeter, warmer tones than you'd find in a Bordeaux. As is always the case with Jullien's wines, there is a core of earthiness that plays well with a robust meal. While this is an open vintage for the wine, it should mature nicely in the cellar as well. -msb 

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  • red
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  • $41.99

Mas Jullien 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc

What a treat to taste Olivier Jullien's top cuvee with a bit of age! This Languedoc wine is a blend of Carignan, Mourvedre, and Syrah, cultivated on the Terrasses du Larzac, an arid, high-altitude, rocky limestone terroir that is viewed as one of the best in the region. Jullien's wines have an air of majesty; they speak of their place of origin and age very well. The '04 shows some evolution, with earth and dried herbs on the nose. '04 is a great vintage for balance in the Languedoc, which this wine exemplifies. The tannins here aren't shy, so treat this wine as you would a Bordeaux and reach for lamb or beef when serving. Fabulous. -msb

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

Mas Jullien 2011 Coteaux du Languedoc Rose

Rosé, you say? We always have Rosé on our Thanksgiving table and they seem to disappear quickly. Here's a great one from the Mas Jullien, but don't overlook the Guion Bourgueil, Morantin "Marie Rose," Pelaquié Tavel and many more...

Vineyard and cellar work are meticulous  at Mas Jullien and the wines show incredible character. They reflect the wildness of the region and more than display Jullien's talent as a shepherd of the vine. A darker color than most rosés, the fruit is deep and ripe, with red fruit confit and spice flavors that marry well with any grilled meats. Fabulous with seared tuna. A serious wine for elegant summer dining and Thanksgiving too. -msb

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  • rosé
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  • $21.99