Particularly well-known to wine enthusiasts, Mas Jullien perhaps doesn’t need much of an introduction. Nonetheless, we want to take up the task since this regional icon continues to be greatly admired by amateurs and professionals alike.
In 1985, Olivier Jullien acquired his first hectare of vines against the odds. He didn’t have the easiest start: far from approving of his ambitious project, the region’s seasoned producers insisted loud and clear that, in this area, you don’t make your own wine, rather you contribute your grapes to the local, cooperative cellar. Helped by his friend Jean-Baptiste Garnier – now at the helm of Vignes Oubliées, one of iDealwine’s partner domains, and son of the technical director of the Languedoc’s slopes – he set himself up on his native soil: the terraces of Larzac. This is where the adventure began, that of the renewal of Languedoc viticulture.
Located in Joncquière, north of Montpellier, his property now incorporates over 20 hectares across varied soils. This variation includes clay, chalk, limestone gravel (a terroir especially appreciated by Olivier Jullien for its microbe activity), sandstone and siliceous earth. With an average age of 35 years, the red varieties (mainly Carignan, as well as Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre) take up 16 hectares and the whites (Viognier, Chenin, Roussanne and Manseng) 4 hectares, and they are grown according to a philosophy that has inspired, and continues to inspire, many winemakers. Indeed, whilst Jullien hasn’t sought certification with the view to remaining independent, he is committed to practicing clean, organic and even biodynamic farming due to the use of homeopathic preparations. Aiming to highlight the identity of this terroir with all its climatic contrasts, influenced by maritime winds and the ruggedness of the mountains, the winemaker prioritises growth at high altitudes, sodding good for stimulating the life of the soil, low yields, and, most importantly, deep roots. The latter of these elements is, in Jullien’s eyes, essential in a region that is regularly victim to drought – deep roots can draw freshness and mineral purity from the depths of the soil.
Driven by a mission to add value to his plots, the winemaker blends terroirs and grape types that he varies over time. It’s easy, therefore, to comprehend his keen desire to regularly acquire terroirs that he judges promising – most of these are terroirs that he saves from being uprooted, separating them from the less favourable ones.
Meticulously crafted for ageing, with the potential to be cellared for a long time, these crus undergo fermentation in casks and demi-muids as well as an élevage in casks and barrels. We recommend that you leave his red wines for 7-8 years in the cellar. Whilst it’s true that certain vintages can be enjoyed earlier, the harmony they achieve after being aged is impressive, as appreciated by the iDealwine team, great admirers of mature, evolved wines. Contrary to expectations, and contrary to many stereotypes posited against wines from the south of France, the domain’s white wines offer superb freshness!
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This cuvée is a faithful expression of the terroir it comes from. Its nose develops gradually, giving of aromas of white flowers and zests of citrus fruits. The palate brings both a fresh and fatty character as well as citrus flavours. Its length is appreciable.
Olivier Jullien easily avoids all the traps into which Languedoc wines often fall. His wines don’t hide behind any kind of illusory richness in alcohol or aggressive tannins. The Coteaux-du-Languedoc Terrasses-du-Larzac is a fresh, complete and complex wine with aromas of red fruits and supple tannins that make it pleasant to drink. It can also be aged for a few years in the cellar.
Mas Jullien, what do the guides say?
La revue du vin de France – 3* out of 3
Located at the heart of Joncquière, in the Côteaux du Languedoc and Terrasse de Larzac appellations, Mas Jullien was founded in 1985 by Olivier Jullien and his right-hand man Jean-Philippe Granier. They grow vines on 18 hectares of land in red and white, including Carignan Blanc, Grenache, Chenin, Viognier, Clairette and Petit Manseng. Olivier Jullien’s domain has long acted as an oasis of quality within an ocean of productivism. This winemaker was one of the leaders who brought about the Languedoc region’s reconnection with top-quality wines. The domain was cultivated organically before Olivier Jullien took back his freedom regarding certification. The domain produces red, white and rosé wines.
Guide Vert from La Revue du vin de France
More than any other Languedoc winemaker, Olivier Jullien is admired and respected by his peers. On his Larzac terraces, he is one of the principal artisans of a renaissance in rigorous viticulture, seeking new combinations and nuances among the variety of indigenous soils and grape types. The sincerity of this visionary fleeing from competition is projected into his deep and generous wines, stereotypically southern in their intensity and the diversity of their flavours, more than simply in the maturity of their grapes and the illusory richness of alcohol. The fresh, full reds, brilliant after 15 years of ageing, but also a magnificent white make this domain a reference.
The wines: the 2016 white is a true success. Notes of dried flowers, an enveloping palate and an energetic finish characterise this wine, which still needs to wait for some time in the bottle. Les Derniers Etats d’Ame reflect the search for new terroirs: the expression of this 2016 is intensely spicy, with a beautiful juice supported by a dense finish. It should be opened in advance in order to be enjoyed in full. It’s when tasting Autour de Joncquières that we can sense the spirit of the domain most clearly. This frank wine possesses the mouth-watering freshness proper to the appellation and a deep, fruity profile that will gradually perfect over the next ten years. Once opened, La Brune also has a superb freshness. Lous Rougeos is the wine with the frankest expression, and yet it is the youngest! Its spicy and floral complexity combined with a great freshness makes for a fantastic success!