Julien Sunier

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Country of Origin: France
Location: Beaujolais
People: Julien Sunier, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Julien Sunier 2017 'Wild Soul' Gamay, Vin de France (Beaujolais) Login WA 90 <1 Case
Julien Sunier 2018 'Wild Soul' Beaujolais Villages AOC Login WA 90 In Stock
Julien Sunier 2018 Fleurie AOC Login In Stock
Julien Sunier 2017 Morgon AOC Login WA 89 WA 92 In Stock
Julien Sunier 2018 Morgon AOC Login In Stock
Julien Sunier 2017 Morgon, Les Charmes, AOC Login In Stock
Julien Sunier 2017 Regnie AOC Login WA 93 In Stock
Julien Sunier 2018 Regnie AOC Login WA 92+ In Stock

The domaine of Julien Sunier is one of the most exciting new tiny properties to come out of the Beaujolais in recent years. Originally from Dijon, Burgundy, Sunier’s family was not in the wine trade. His mother in fact made her living cutting hair, and one of her regular clients happened to (auspiciously) be Christophe Roumier.

When Julien graduated from school, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided to go work with Roumier, which started his passion for wine. He spent his early twenties globe-trotting on the international wine route. His travels took him to California and New Zealand, allowing him to both surf and work harvest in both hemispheres. When he returned to Burgundy, Julien worked alongside winemakers Nicolas Potel in Nuits Saint-Georges and Jean-Claude Rateau in Beaune, where he solidified a passion for organic and biodynamic viticulture.

Following his stint in Burgundy, Julien spent five years managing a large negociant where he worked with growers in all of the 10 Cru Beaujolais villages. This work proved to be invaluable as it gave him a strong understanding of the various microclimates throughout the region.

In the spring of 2008, Julien established a domaine more inline with his ideas of organic viticulture and natural winemaking. He secured three hectares of densely planted, old-vine, hilltop parcels in the Cru villages of Fleurie, Morgon and Régnié. Currently, he is converting all of his vineyards to organic viticulture (six acres are certified Agriculture Biologique, 4 acres are in organic conversion, and the remaining 10 acres are meadow). Harvesting entirely by hand, Julien does whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentations in concrete vats at low temperatures in an effort to preserve fresh fruit flavors and a delicate tannin structure. After the alcoholic fermentations are complete, the fruit is slowly and gently pressed over a 24-hour period using an ancient vertical press Julien acquired in the Côte D’Or. The wines are then aged for up to 8 months in a combination of 3 - 9 year old Burgundy barrels that he gets from Christophe Roumier and stainless steel tanks.

The resulting wines are exceptionally pure, elegant and without artifice. They are at once bright, floral and high-toned but with an ethereal texture and a beguiling, long finish. While you would be hard pressed to try and delay the immediate gratification of drinking the wines young, they have the depth and balanced structure to reward medium-term cellaring.

Media Links
The New York Times: Easygoing Overachievers

Wine Advocate 8/2019
"Julien Sunier established his own small Beaujolais domaine in 2008 after a stint working with Christophe Roumier in Chambolle-Musigny and has rapidly emerged as one of the region's new star producers. Whole-cluster fermentation in cement vats at low temperature followed by élevage in used Burgundy barrels are the rudiments of his approach. The style is supple, elegant and perfumed, emphasizing grace and charm, and all the cuvées reviewed here come warmly recommended."


Wine Advocate 8/2017
"There is no point in me banging on about the quality of Julien's wines because I have done exactly that within previous reports...There is always something 'honest' about Julien Sunier's wines, reflecting the joie-de-vivre of their vineyards. As usual, they come recommended."


Wine Advocate 6/2016
"Julien Sunier seems to be one of the main drivers for the revolution that is sweeping through Beaujolais at the moment. He is an outgoing and outspoken winemaker, even predisposed to criticize his fellow vignerons' wines when I was tasting them at his winery high up on the hills in northern Beaujolais. If he ever tires of making wine he would make a fine if formidable wine critic. As usual he was in disarmingly candid form... "We cropped at 30 hl/ha in 2015," he told me. "I didn't want to go for power like in 2009 and 2010 because I am bored of that. The entire crop was aged in 10- to 15-year-old barrels. I don't care about color, I don't care about a lot of things these days. My wines should be drunk in the first 5 years." Julien Sunier's wines are certainly much more on the fresher, leaner side - terroir expressive wines that care little for the intensity of fruit and aim more for balance and tension. While many winemakers professed that 2015 was a bona fide great Beaujolais vintage, Julien was much more sanguine and admitted that he has a preference for the 2014s, undoubtedly a growing season that is more to his style. Still, that did not preclude him from creating some very fine and delicious 2015s, even if he is cooler about them than others."

Reviews

  • Julien Sunier 2017 'Wild Soul' Gamay, Vin de France (Beaujolais)
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (9/22/2018)

    A 2,000-bottle cuvée produced from purchased organic grapes, the 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Wild Soul exhibits a spicy bouquet of raspberries, cassis and sweet soil. It’s medium to full-bodied, rich and chewy, with a dark, sapid core of fruit. A touch of dissolved carbon dioxide lends freshness but likely also amplifies the perception of tannin; Sunier noted that he retained more gas than usual to compensate for the wine’s comparatively low acidity. It’s a tasty, giving Beaujolais-Villages that will drink well out of the gates.
  • Julien Sunier 2017 Morgon AOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 89 (9/22/2018)

    A blend of grapes from Les Charmes, Côte du Py and Corcelette, the 2017 Morgon from Julien Sunier wafts from the glass with attractive notes of juicy cherries, rose petals and raspberries. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, firm and chewy, perhaps marked by the hail this year, with a more compact profile than is typical of Sunier’s elegant style.
  • Julien Sunier 2017 Regnie AOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (9/22/2018)

    The 2017 Régnié burst from the glass with aromas of red fruit compote, strawberries and flowers. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and satiny, with a textural attack, lovely depth at the core and a layered, multifaceted profile. At 13.5% natural alcohol, it’s the ripest of Sunier’s 2017s, but it’s beautifully balanced.
  • Julien Sunier 2018 'Wild Soul' Beaujolais Villages AOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (8/30/2019)

    Produced from vines that are two years into organic conversion and matured in foudre, Sunier's 2018 Beaujolais-Lantignié Wild Soul bursts with aromas of raspberries, grilled meats, licorice and rich soil tones. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, with powdery tannins, lively acids and a flavorful finish. Sunier tells me he's looking for juicy grapes for this cuvée, seeking suppleness to contrast with his more concentrated, structured cru Beaujolais bottlings.
  • Julien Sunier 2018 Regnie AOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92+ (8/30/2019)

    Matured in used barrels from Chambolle-Musigny's Domaine Roumier, this is the first bottling of Sunier's 2018 Régnié, amounting to some 7,000 bottles out of a total production closer to 20,000. Wafting from the glass with scents of wild berries, potpourri and dark chocolate, it's medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, with powdery structuring tannins, good concentration and a sapid finish. Recently bottled, I suspect it will perform even better with a year in the cellar.
  • Julien Sunier 2017 Morgon AOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (8/30/2019)

    The 2017 Morgon had just been bottled when I tasted it last year, and it's performing much better today, revealing a complex bouquet of ripe cherries, dark chocolate, smoked meats, peonies and spices. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, layered and velvety, with excellent depth and concentration, concluding with a sapid—indeed carnal—finish.