Mas Jullien

The Mas Jullien is a young estate with a long history deeply rooted in the hillsides of Languedoc. Olivier was one of the pioneers of the region. He believed that the terroir had the potential to make great wines and he had the courage to prove it. After taking his degree in viticulture and oenology in 1985, he began farming some of his family's vineyards and looking around the area for the best vineyards to purchase. He was only twenty years old when he converted some of the outbuildings on the family estate into a cellar and began vinifying and bottling his wines under the Mas Jullien label. Mas Jullien is composed of 15 hectares of vineyards scattered around the village of Jonqui?res, north of Montpellier, 40 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. The vines grow on the rocky terraces of the plateau of Larzac at the foot of Mont Baudille, culminating at an altitude of 900 metres, at the limit of their cultivation of the vine in the area. Each of his parcels has its own character, arising from differences in altitude, exposition, wind, cool air currents, and proximity to the river. Soil types vary and include rocky limestone, schist, clay and alluvial deposits. These variables give each parcel its own distinctive personality. Olivier places his trust in the diversity of terroir, and he carefully observes and respects the environment. He has pulled out vineyards to re-plant trees in an effort to restore the balance of the local ecosystem. Olivier is a perfectionist in everything he does, particularly in his vineyards. From the cultivation of the soil, severe pruning, s?lection massale, organic treatments following the phases of the moon, use of natural compost; an intimate relationship with his vineyards is evident. Olivier's philosophy regarding the role of the different grape varieties is less concerned with the individual expression of each grape than with its contribution to the balance of the final wine after fermentation. He uses Carignan for its freshness and body, Cinsault for finesse and delicacy, Syrah for its aroma and color, Grenache for its breed, complexity, and spice, and Mourv?dre for its race and structure. For his whites, he uses Grenache Blanc for richness, Chenin Blanc and Carignan Blanc for acidity, Viognier for its primary aromas, Clairette and Roussanne for their oxidative notes, characteristic of southern wines. The Mas Jullien is farmed organically in all ways except for ?official certification?.Mas Jullien produces red wines using traditional methods. The harvest is partially destemmed before crushing. Each lot of grapes is vinified separately in stainless tanks and then is racked into barrel (demi-muid size and large ovals, the newest of which are made by Stockinger, the Austrian barrel-maker of quality). Olivier does not follow convention, he prefers to play by his own rules. He has reduced the number of cuv?es he produces, believing that by blending all of the different components, he can create more complex wines. Note, however, that the blends mentioned in the individual descriptions of the wines that follow are general guidelines not strict rules.
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