“Vivid ruby. Smoke-accented blackberry and cherry liqueur aromas pick up lavender and Indian spice nuances with air. Supple and broad on the palate, offering intense red and blue fruit and spicecake flavors that turn livelier as the wine opens up. Excellent clarity and solid thrust on a juicy, expansive, very persistent finish framed by supple, even tannins. This bottling always punches way above it weight and can stand up to plenty of Châteauneufs in terms of power, complexity and ageworthiness.” Josh Raynolds of Vinous
Domaine de la Vieille Julienne
The Daumen family acquired the initial vineyard parcels in 1905. For the next 55 years the entire production was sold to négociants and blended into nondescript bulk wines. In the late 1960’s Maxime Daumen felt the need to build a cellar, age the wines onsite in foudres, and sell direct. A discerning, wine-thirsty following appeared. In 1990, Maxime’s son Jean-Paul started applying the biodynamic viticultural teachings of Rudolf Steiner and officially took over from his father in 1992. After 25 years at the helm, Jean-Paul’s son Antoine has started training to eventually take over the estate.
In 2016 the domaine added 12 acres of vines to their holdings in Châteauneuf du Pape and many of those sections were contiguous to their existing vineyards. That is a big plus and provides continuity to their existing profile—expansion without the loss of quality or change in terroir. That puts their total production in the region at 37 acres. Additionally impressive is the average age of the vines being 60 years old, with some plots own rooted with over 100 years in the ground.
While there are over a dozen varieties acceptable in the AOC rules for CdP wines, Vieille Julienne focus on Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Cinsault. In a 2014 Wine Spectator article, Jean-Paul states:
"(Before 2010) I was picking my parcels separately, but I blended those with rustic tannins to those with riper fruit to make thing average out. Now, I still pick parcels separately, but I make a true parcel selection for my wines, versus just blends. I think both ways are expressions of Châteauneuf, but I now prefer the parcel selection. It's a more Burgundy-style approach to expressing the terroir.”
This domaine runs traditional and those tenants are held in high importance; biodynamic farming, old vines, tiny yields, no sulfur during vinification, aging in neutral tanks or barrels, and bottling without fining or filtration.