La Vieille Julienne CDP Les Trois Sources 2019
Pureed Raspberries, Lavender, Soy Sauce, Allspice, Dried Mushrooms
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"To get started we take a deep dive into the Rhone Valley of France, and the 2015 Domaine
Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Trois Sources. When I started selling wine in 1989 it was in a store that considered themselves Bordeaux specialists. Ever one to dance to my own tune, I decided to focus my energy on Rhone wines mostly because I wanted to set myself apart from the rest of the staff. I practically memorized the first edition of Robert Parker’s Wines of the Rhone Valley, which came out in 1987. My passion for the region increased even more when I visited in 1993 during my first trip to France. Although I still consider Bordeaux the most important wine region in the world, to this day Rhone wines occupy a special place in my heart.
This brings us to our feature, and its owner, the brilliant Jean Paul Daumen. Daumen’s family purchased their vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 1905, selling all of their grapes to negotiants until the 1960’s when Jean Paul’s father, Maxine, began bottling some wine. Jean Paul officially established the domaine in 1990 producing wine from their fifty acre vineyard. Unique in Chateauneuf it is one contiguous site, divided into several blocks. The most interesting feature of the vineyard is most of the vines are oriented on a slope that faces north. In the northern hemisphere this means that the vines are in the shade during the hottest part of the day, reducing vine stress from a lack of water. Remember that irrigation in most appellations of France is not allowed.
When Jean Paul took over the family estate he immediately converted all of their farming practices to biodynamic regimes. All of their vines are old, between 60 and 100 years, so they responded to these treatments with lower yields but with much better intensity of flavor. Yields average 20 hectoliters per hectare, an insanely low amount that is roughly half of the legal limit of Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy. Because of the old age, each block of vineyards is primarily Grenache, but interplanted with Cinsault, Syrah, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse, White Grenache, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Picardan. This is the old formula in which farmers attempted to build balance in the wines by mixing grape varieties, red and white, that ripen at different times. Unlike almost every estate in the region who replanted most of these varieties, the Daumen’s maintained this recipe. Today each block of intermixed varieties is harvested, destemmed and fermented together, using native yeast strains. The wine is then aged in a combination of old, large barrels and foudre. Daumen only adds sulfur before bottling, making this wine similar in production to most “natural” wines." - Tim Varan