Cheerful, relaxed and yet intrigued … this are the emotions one gets when visiting Étienne Julien at Domaine Julien in Comblanchien.
This also apply to the wines made here – they are energetic and vibrant with an effortless hedonistic note of being easy going.
Like Étienne Julien the wines are however also sharp and focused … and the wines certainly stand the test of tasting scrutiny. These are indeed wines made to drink and enjoy without compromising depth and complexity.
The estate Gérard Julien
The Julien estate is as mentioned located in Comblancien on RN974 – just at the entrance to the village coming from Nuits-Saint-Georges – finding it is easy – if GPS and other modern equipment is not a part of the navigation – as these so helpful and modern devices will send you somewhat off target …
Étienne Julien is a funny and cheerful young vigneron in his mid twenties .. sharp and with a great sense of humor. He is however – make no mistake – serious about his wines and very serious about the quality made at the estate. This is – like most other estates – an old family estate, and Étiennes first vintage was 2012 – so impressive progress already.
I have tasted both the 2014s and the 2015s and I must say that quality is quite impressive already – and the style is very invigorating and enjoyable both in 2014 and 2015 – as he has managed to keep both the freshness and house style in the powerful and concentrated 2015 vintage.
It is often problematic to compare style and qualities between estates – I do however find that Etienne’s wines have the same joie de vivre effortlessness as the wines from his friend Maxime Cheurlin – not to compare the wines of the two estates otherwise.
I do however think that this juicy effortlessness is an extremely important quality – that makes me want to enjoy these wines … and also means that even the wines from lesser terroirs bring so much pleasure and hedonistic gratification.
The 2015s here have a beautiful balance and freshness for the vintage – and while the are quite powerful they all have the core quality of effortless enjoyability … let the fun commence!
Tasting notes from January 24th 2017
First wine is the lovely Côte de Nuits villages – made from plots located in the Comblanchien appellation. This is a very juicy and attractive wine with a pure and vibrant fruit. The nose is offering a lovely red and dark berry fruit with a nice quite lime stony minerality. On the palate quite substantial but still on it’s toes with a nice energetic fruit. A charming wine with a lovely freshness. Good++ (87 – 88p).
Next up the Aloxe Corton Les Valoziéres 1er cru … a lovely effort from Julien and from a slightly overlooked appellation. It is very juicy indeed. The nose is brimming with fresh and juicy fruit – lovely mix between red and dark berries brought forward by a fine earthy minerality. On the palate a step up in refinement and depth from the Côte de Nuits Villages – offering plenty of fruit and intensity – effortlessly and quite lightfooted despite plenty of stuffing. A lovely juicy wine – Very Good (88 – 89p).
A reminder to self … do taste some more Aloxe Corton.
Next up the Nuits-Saint-Georges village from the terroirs Longecourt, La Maladiére and Charbonniéres. This is slightly more sturdy than the other offerings – coming from the middle – classic – Nuits-Saint-Georges section. The bouquet is slightly darker than the NSG Aux Saints-Juliens and is not showing the same playful energy. On the palate juicy fruit – oak a bit more forward and slightly reductive. It’s a very good wine, but as with other producers the middle part of NSG seem to be more affected by the heat in 2015. Need time to settle down – Very Good (87 – 88p).
Moving on to the Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Saints-Juliens – not named after the estate but after an old Chapel that was located in the northern part of Nuits-Saint-Georges – below the Combe leading towards Vergy. This is a very interesting terroir that produces a very playful and vibrant NSG village. The nose offer variations of red and dark berries – very fine playful energy and minerality. On the palate very juicy fruit – fine energetic notes of pomegranate – interesting lively minerality. A cool wine – presumably this has benefited from the cool air from the Combe just like Aux Thorey and Aux Bouselotts higher up the sloape. Very Good+ (90 – 91p).
Next up the equally interesting Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Bousselots – a cool, energetic and juicy 1er cru. The bouquet offer a gorgeous selection of cool berries .. lovely tension .. with a refined and filigree minerality. On the palate lovely intense and playful fruit – perfect balance between freshness and ripe sweet fruit. It’s vibrant and very juicy … a gorgeous wine. Like Aux Thorey it seems like Aux Bousselots have offered perfect conditions in 2015 – as the juicy and lush red fruit seems more dominant in the wines in this vintage than usually… Very Fine (93 – 94p).
Last but not least the Echezeaux a very intense and quite powerful wine. This is pretty early times to taste this. The bouquet offer deep and layered red and dark berry fruit – oak currently somewhat forward awaiting to integrate and reveal more minerality. On the palate juicy and powerful juicy and virbant fruit – tightly knit with quite considerable power and length – nice balance and acidity. This is a big wine – will need time to unfold … before the juicyness and the refinement take over. Outstanding (94 – 95p).