Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mas Jullien tasting and dinner

Mas Jullien’s wines are part of our history in the Languedoc. We discovered and fell in love with the area by accident in April 1993, renting a converted manger of a village house in Soubes near Lodeve for just a week through friends of a friend. We also discovered the amazing Le Mimosa restaurant where we were introduced to Olivier Jullien’s wines. A bottle of warming but supple 1991 Les Depierres red by a roaring wood stove will stick in the memory forever. From a family of vignerons in Jonquières, Olivier started back in 1985 after studying viticulture and oenology. Since then his journey seems to have been a quest for the ideal combination of terroirs by acquiring various vineyards in the folds of various soils that flow from the Larzac plateau and the Pic Baudille which dominates the Herault valley. 24 years on Olivier hosted a tasting and repas vigneron at La Terrasse du Mimosa in Montpeyroux. As the cepages vary from year to year, plus even Olivier’s memory is not perfect, my notes on the grapes used will be incomplete. Given how many different wines he makes the approach was to taste ready to drink and fully mature examples. Also bear in mind that most of these wines have been stored in an air conditioned cellar since bottling so have matured slowly and evenly. Mas Jullien White 1999 the first year a single white was made. Carignan Blanc, Chenin Blanc. Melon and aromatic herbs, heaps of acidity, oils. Good length and perfect balance. Presented as a “wine of the south with a goût of the north”. Mas Jullien White 2006 presented after the 1999 to show the progression in wine making. Fresh, citrus peel, grasses and minerals with a strapping palate. Blanc 2007 served afterwards with dinner – mineral blast, citrus peel reminiscent of Alsace like steeliness. Mas Jullien Rose 2008 Grenache, Carignan Blanc and others. Scarlet colour. Gariguettes (strawberry) and quince but not overly blowsy. Full bodied but dry. Delicious alone or with food. Red Les Etats d'Ames 1997 Being a Grenache based blend makes it approachable to drink young, but this proves it ages beautifully despite 1997 being a relatively difficult and forward year. Brick red. Ripe, supple, elegant with hints of farmyard, almost burgundian. À point maturity. Red Carlan Les Etats d'Ames 2004 First year from a sandstone vineyard at altitude tucked under the Larzac plateau. Grenache, cinsault, carignan. Elegant red fruits, rubber with herbs. Still has plenty of structure. Red Les Cailloutis 1996 (Magnum) Mouvedre, Carignan, Syrah, Grenache. Heady, ripe. Bay and game. Tannic grip but rounded, balanced and long. Illustrates the ageing potential, something Olivier admires about les Britanniques with their love of ageing wines. Red Les Depierres 1996 Syrah blend from schist terroir. Fresher, racier fruit with pencil, elegant, warm weight. Perfectly cellared. Mas Jullien Red 1999 In 1997 Olivier moved to making one Mas Jullien cuvee. Claret like mature fruit and wood. Chamois and daube with juniper. Pleasantly heady. The 2001 drunk with squab pigeon had the liquorice and prune characteristic of the best 2001’s. Clairette Beudelle (sweet) Vintage not noted. Made from partially dried (passerillés) Clairette grapes. Barley and honey with lemon, terrific concentration. Mas Jullien La Méjanne Blanc 2005 (sweet) Late harvest Chenin Blanc and others. Dry, fresh but weighty and grapey. Pineapple and gentian. Long and delicious. A very special evening.


  1. Hello,

    I recently came into possession of a few bottles of Mas Jullien white 2001. What are the chances that it is still drinkable? I love the reds. Many thanks in advance.
    Jim Saft

  2. His whites have good acidity so age reasonably well. Expect it to have a taken on a nutty characteristic with some caramel flavours. How much will obviously depend on how well the bottle had been stored. I had a 1995 Mas de Daumas Gassac the other night (from the domaine's cellar) and it was in the style I describe.

  3. Thanks,

    I look forward to it.