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Antoine Sunier is a Beaujolais newcomer. For most newcomers, it takes a few years to learn the ropes and even more time to make one’s name known. Not Antoine. His inaugural 2014 vintage gained enthusiastic praise and accredited him as one of the newest stars of the region. With only a few vintages under his belt, Antoine’s domaine has just begun to glisten.
Antoine grew up in Dijon, the capital of Côte-d'Or, Burgundy. While his family was not in the wine scene, this proximity to the wine world had a great impact on Antoine as well as his older brother Julien Sunier. After graduation, Julien followed the vigneron road while Antoine’s path led to telecommunications. Having a strong relationship with his brother, Antoine vacationed at Julien’s Beaujolais domaine and helped work the vineyards and cellar. He learned that he loved the life of a vigneron. The land was calling him.
Finally, in 2012, Antoine left his job to study enology in Beaune. His studies led him to intern at two organic estates, Domaine Lapalu in Beaujolais and Chateau de Prémeaux in Burgundy. Two years later, in 2014, he purchased a house with a small cellar in the village of Régnié. His brother helped him find choice parcels and source equipment for the vineyards and cellar. Thanks to Julien’s contacts, the vineyards Antoine acquired had all been well maintained and organically farmed. The Morgon vines have been certified organic since 2003. The Régnié vines are in transformation to organic viticulture. As of today (2017), Antoine tends 4.5 hectares: 3.3 hectares in Régnié and 1.2 hectares in Morgon.
Antoine is a minimalist in the cellar. He crafts natural wine using carbonic maceration with indigenous yeast. No artificial additives are used. The wine flows by gravity into used Burgundy barrels (8+ years old) and epoxy-lined concrete tanks. It matures for 7 to 8 months and is bottled without fining or filtration. Only a small addition of SO2 is used at bottling.
Wineanorak.com: In Beaujolais: Julien Sunier, Antoine Sunier and Domaine de la Combe Aux Loup
Punch.com: The Insider's Guide to Beaujolais
"This small, relatively new estate (4.5 hectares, of which 0.8 owned) was established by young Antoine Sunier, a Dijon native and graduate of Beaune’s Lycée Viticole, in 2014. Based on all the releases that I’ve tried so far (which is, well, all of them) it’s already a name to be reckoned with for high-quality, elegant and expressive Beaujolais. Sunier’s older brother, Julien, set up his own domain in 2008 and has already established himself as one of the region’s most respected addresses. The wines here (a single Morgon and a single Régnié) bear plenty of resemblance to their cousins’, stylistically. The fruit is grown organically, the wines are made by carbonic maceration and native yeasts, with no enzymes added. They are then aged in concrete tanks and small, neutral oak barrels before being bottled, with only a small hit of sulfur, without fining and filtration. This methodology puts Sunier’s wines comfortably into the “natural” category but, in my experience at least, they don’t head off into la Ville de Funk, like so many other examples made with such a hands-off approach."
Wine Advocate 8/2017
"Antoine is rapidly going places since he debuted his first wines with the 2014 vintage, adopting the organic and biodynamic tenets of his brother. Both of Antoine's wines come recommended, but in particular the superb Régnié that managed to overcome that destructive hailstorm. These wines are driven by the racy acidity, around pH levels of 2.70 and so will appeal to those seeking freshness and energy in their Beaujolais."
"Antoine Sunier, a native of Dijon, is the younger brother of Julien Sunier, who is one of the region's ascendant stars, and these 2014s represent his inaugural vintage. It's a pretty impressive debut, for sure. Antoine studied at the viticultural school in Beaune and followed up by working with Jean-Paul Lapalu, one of the most highly regarded winemakers in Beaujolais, before setting up his own estate. The wines are made by carbonic maceration followed by aging in small, used wooden barrels, with no sulfur applied until bottling. The purity and energy of these wines will thrill fans of Antoine’s brother's work, as well as any fan of Beaujolais in the vibrant mode."