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Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”Beaujolais, Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul” Beaujolais, Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)

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“Sunier’s 2020 ‘Wild Soul’ is a thirst-quenching, soul-stirringly pure Burgundy that also doubles as a formative case study on the rich granitic soils of Beaujolais and the pure joys of Gamay.”

Sunier is one of a new wave of producers who’ve helped raise the profile of Beaujolais as a stronghold of natural farming and winemaking. Following in the footsteps of local legends like Lapierre and Foillard, Sunier would also be considered a disciple of the legendary Jules Chauvet, who was preaching the natural wine gospel in Beaujolais as far back as the 1950s. Yet while he hails from Burgundy (Dijon), Sunier wasn’t from a wine family; his mother was a hairdresser who counted vigneron Christophe Roumier as a client. In his twenties, Sunier followed the itinerant “cellar rat” path, interning in California and New Zealand before landing back in Burgundy, where he worked with the likes of Nicolas Potel and Jean-Claude Rateau. He then worked for the large négociant firm Mommessin, where, among other things, he became intimately acquainted with the terroir of Beaujolais and its Gamay grape.

Throughout all of Julien’s vineyard sites, each vine is chemically-untouched and tended to by hand—he’s adamant about farming organically with biodynamic principles. For his “Wild Soul” label, grapes are organically sourced from a local farmer/friend, but he vinifies the wine just as he would his Cru Beaujolais, i.e. naturally. At Julien’s winery in Avenas, the Gamay grapes underwent a cold carbonic vinification with ambient yeasts. When it came time for pressing with an old-fashioned wooden press, the juice was transferred via gravity. It was then gently transferred—again, via gravity—into a combination of large concrete eggs and wide stainless steel tanks. After aging for about nine months on fine lees, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

Julien purposely avoids sulfur during the vinification and aging process but does add the lightest touch right at bottling to give the wine more buoyancy, aromatic lift, and snappy freshness. I advise decanting the wine for 15 minutes prior to serving in large Burgundy stems so that the initial carbonated “prickle” blows off. Burgundy may have its pretensions, but “Wild Soul” does not. This is a carefree yet deeply satisfying Gamay that jolts the senses with juicy huckleberry, raspberry, green strawberry, and ripe red cherry alongside grape stem, violet, crushed granite, cracked peppercorn, and damp herbs. The medium-bodied palate is ultra-refreshing with vibrantly plump fruits, chiseled minerality, and a wildly refreshing crunchiness to each layer. Enjoy often, slightly chilled, on any occasion. Cheers!

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBurgundy
  • Sub-RegionBeaujolais-Villages
  • SoilGranite w/ Blue Stone
  • FarmingPracticing Organic
  • BlendGamay
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • Temp.Serve at 55-60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2024
  • Decanting15 Minutes
  • PairingGrilled Sausages, Peppers, & Potatoes

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