• Emily

2006 Côtes du Rhône 'Lieu-Dit Clavin', Domaine de la Vieille Julienne

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

I had no idea what to expect from this wine, to be quite honest, but it turned out to be a delight.

This was one of those times where it was extremely lucky to work for a wine importer. This wine was discovered when we (okay, not me - I was comfortably in the office in front of a computer) did our warehouse inventory over the summer. This had been sitting, forgotten, in a lonely, dusty corner of London City Bond Creek Road warehouse, and I bought it up at a good price, not having a clue what it was. I probably should have done some research about it first, but our buyers are 110% magnets for awesome wines, so I knew it had to be pretty decent. It turns out, this is definitely one I should have known as they've been around for a very long time. I'll certainly be drinking more in the future.

I was slightly worried that it was too old - most wines benefit from ageing, but these days there are a lot of wines that are designed to be drunk young. Because of that, I decanted it about an hour before dinner. It was a little tight when I tasted upon opening, but man did it open up. It was lovely and silky, with some light peppery spice and ripe raspberry fruit.

Domaine de la Vieille Julienne has been making wine in Châteauneuf-du-Pape since before it was Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The current showrunner is Jean-Paul Daumen; it was his father who started bottling wine under the family name rather than selling off the grapes to other winemakers, and his great-grandfather who founded the vineyard. Jean-Paul farms with biodynamic practices, although I don't think he is certified biodynamic (many of the vignerons who believe in biodynamic vineyard practices do it for the sake of keeping their vineyards healthy and aren't so bothered with the certification process, which is lengthy and expensive.) The Clavin vineyard plot is literally across the road from the edge of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, so they bottle under the Côtes du Rhône AOC, but make no mistake, this is basically CdP.

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