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Domaine Jules Desjourneys, Côte Maconnais and Beaujolais

Domaine Jules Desjourneys, Côte Maconnais and Beaujolais

As one of the leading fine wine agents in Burgundy, Fabien Duperray knows great wine, and 15 years or so ago, he decided he’d like to make it too. In 2007 he purchased ancient Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent – some over 140 years of age – then in 2014 Chardonnay parcels in a range of Côte Maconnais appellations (shared with Christophe Thibert). For his own domaine, Fabien introduced the same fastidious, single-minded attention to quality he learned from his friends at DRC, Arnaud Ente and Coche-Dury, amongst others in the Cote D’Or. Farming is biodynamic, yields are very low, and his main focus is making the most balanced, age-worthy wines possible. Fabien picked the great man of Beaujolais, Jules Chauvet, as inspiration for his newly born Beaujolais, naming it Domaine Jules Desjourneys.

Reds come from around 7ha of three crus – Chénas, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent – with certain parcels bottled separately in some years. Duperray has phased out oak in favour of steel and glass; 2015 is the first completely unoaked vintage. Whites are from around 10ha in Macon-Verzé, St-Veran and three of the Pouillys (Loché, Vinzelles and Fuissé) and are all made in tank with the exception of the Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Vignes Blanches’, which are both vinified using what Fabien calls “the Coche method”.

Jules Chauvet did not only lend his name to the wine labels, he also influenced Duperray’s attitude to the fermentation process, both believing that is the most important element of wine. Duperray believes that even with the best fruit, he needs to control the fermentation to have complex aromas, and says that when fermentation is carried out properly it doesn’t need any SO2; he adds it only in the second year, after letting the aromas develop. Duperray is constantly striving to express the best of his terroir and fruit, always learning and fine-tuning. For instance, his wines used to be 100% stems but he now adjusting this, depending on the vintage. He likes to make wines of pleasure whose corks can happily be popped young, yet, like the top Burgundies he is so familiar with, he is also creating bottles to age for the long term.

The reds are thrilling: deeply coloured, with density, intensity and precision, concentration, freshness and elegance combined. The whites are intensely aromatic, showing power and complexity, intensity allied to freshness, steely and alive.

Longtime distributor of several of the Côte d’Or’s most celebrated domaines, Fabien Duperray is today producing wines that are just as thrilling in the Beaujolais and the Mâconnais, demonstrating what is possible when neglected and underappreciated appellations are lavished with the same care and attention in their viticulture, vinification and élevage as their more esteemed cousins in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Any readers that have had the fortune to taste the memorable old Beaujolais of yesteryear from vintages such as 1929 and 1945 will find in these bottlings their best hope that the region may once again produce wines like those. These are singular wines that exist in a context that’s entirely their own, and if they fulfill all their youthful promise with bottle age—as I believe they will—there’s no doubt that they will change how the Beaujolais is perceived forever.

– William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

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