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With vineyards dating back to 910 AD that have been farmed organically since the 1950s, and three generations of experience vinifying without additives, Julien Guillot is producing some of the most unique and delicious natural wines of France!
The Wines - Included in today's email are the principal bottlings from the Clos des Vignes du Maynes as well as wines made at the Clos with organic grapes from the Mâcon and Beaujolais that are harvested and vinified by Julien. All wines were vinified and bottled with zero additives, with the exception of the 2018 Mâcon-Vilages Blanc which received 30 mg/liter SO2)
Wines Arrive October 1st, normal case/mixed case discount applies.
2019 Clos des Vignes du Maynes Mâcon Rouge Cuvée 910 - This special cuvée is a commemoration of eleven hundred years of winemaking, the vineyards in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes having been planted around AD 900 and wine first produced for the Abbey of Cluny around 910. This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin - the wine retained it's delicate beauty even in this dry hot vintage. (News from Julien this morning, 9/28 - "Cuvée 910 in 2019 has the following blend: 50% gamay de Manganite,15% Pinot fin Auguste, 15% pinot noir, 20% Chardonnay Aragonite. To drink without moderation!)
2018 Clos des Vignes du Maynes Bourgogne Rouge "Cuvée Auguste" - Made from a small plot of massale-selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964, this is certainly one of the most rare and beautiful natural Burgundies. The subsoil is Middle Jurassic Bathonian limestone, the same kind that is found throughout Burgundy, with pearly limestone slabs with beautiful limestone crystals embedded in them: calcite-aragonite. The thin layer of soil (5 to 50 cm) is clay-limestone. 2018 is a great vintage for the Auguste with the extra ripeness balanced by the superb flavors of soil and mineral always found in this wine. Drink now or keep for 10 to 20 years in a cold cellar.
2018 Clos des Vignes du Maynes Mâcon-Cruzille "Manganite" - One of the world's most distinctive Gamays, grown in the same terroir as the "Cuvée Auguste," entirely from old varieties of small-berried Gamay. The 2018 shows delicacy and ripeness together, with gorgeous fruit and a silky texture with terrific length. Drink now or keep 10 - 15 years.
2018 Clos des Vignes du Maynes Mâcon-Cruzille "Aragonite" - Massale selection Chardonnay grown on the upper slopes of the Clos (see above), fermented and aged on the lees in large barrels without racking, no added SO2 in 2018. The very low yields of this vintage gave an extra density to the "Aragonite" which shows rich and complex white fruits on the palate and the unique minerality always present in this wine.
2018 Julien Guillot/Clos des Vignes du Maynes Crémant de Bourgogne "Ste. Geneviève" - Every few years Julien makes a Crémant, in 2018 it's wildly delicious - 50% from the Clos and 50% negoce, made from Pinot Fin, Gamay, Aligoté and Chardonnay. 2018 Mâcon-Villages - From organic parcels on the première cote in Mâcon, Montbellet and Vire-Clesse. 2017 Mâcon Rouge - Made from numerous old varieties of Gamay planted in the 1950s. 2018 Beaujolais "Ultimatum Climat" - Julien's cuvée commemorating a "climate ultimatum" made before the 2009 Copenhagen conference is now from the "Pierres Bleues" parcel of very old vines on red clay and limestone. 2018 Morgon "Les Charmes" - A new wine for Julien made from old vines in Biodynamic farming formerly owned by our friend Roland Pignard. 2018 Chenas "Les Petites Pierres - Gandelins" - another new cuvée, from organic grapes grown in two pacels of old vines on granite in Chenas. This showed beautifully tasted with Julien last winter, with gorgeous fruit, very silky and long...
A bit of History from Julien: "The Clos des Vignes du Maynes was first recorded on cadastral maps by Burgundian monks. Its origin dates back to 910, the year Cluny Abbey was founded by the Duke of Aquitaine. The domaine was originally owned by the seigneurs of the Château of Cruzille, and then belonged to a farming family for five generations before being bought by Pierre and Jeanne Guillot in 1952. The vineyard has therefore never had any chemicals used on it and has always been farmed with the greatest respect for the earth. From the very outset, my grandfather decided to make wine organically, using no chemicals, herbicides, pesticides or sulphur. My father, Alain, later took over the domaine, keeping the same philosophy. As President of the French national federation of organic agriculture (FNAB), he was responsible for getting the AB (agriculture biologique) organic logo and standards recognised by the Minister of Agriculture. I joined the domaine in 1998, which is when I introduced the first biodynamic preparations. I then took over the domaine officially in 2001 and decided to convert the entire vineyard of seven hectares to biodynamic farming."
A bit of Philosophy: "My aim is to make wines that are to be shared, for people who enjoy drinking wine, who are looking for a generous and pleasant wine. The achieve this, we try to produce stable wines in the most natural way possible. We take risks in our vinification methods, but it is very important for us that the wines be easily approachable... I think that the feeling you get in your mouth is very important: the texture of the wine, its silkiness or velvety touch. I like the salinity on the palate that brings a sharp minerality, a perfect match with fine cuisine. I am looking for finishes that reflect the wine’s terroir as authentically as possible. It is essential for the geology to come out in each wine, be it granite, limestone or white clay. The grape variety is actually less important because it simply acts as a vector for the terroir."
A bit of Technique: "We use the most natural methods possible to vinify our wines: using natural yeasts, no sulphur, no enzymes and no chemical additives. The wooden vats are cleaned thoroughly beforehand, and they are scrubbed with marc de Bourgogne to stimulate the yeasts. During the harvest, which is all done by hand and placed in small containers, we sort the grapes meticulously in order not to damage them during their journey to the winery. For our red wines, we carry out a semi-carbonic maceration, using a very precise method that we have perfected over three generations. The basic principle is to create a multi-layered ‘cake’ built up of alternate layers of whole clusters and destemmed grapes. The latter will produce the first juice, which will flow out, start fermenting, and thus activate the natural yeasts (with the sugars), which gives the body and smoothness that we are looking for in our wines. At the same time, because the vat is saturated with CO2, an intracellular fermentation also takes place, which brings the elegant floral aromas (rose and peony) that are typical of pinot noir. Then, after four or five days, we do a very light pumping over as well as a punching down of the cap to a depth of around twenty centimetres. The aim of this is to release the sugars and yeasts; that’s the starting signal for the fermentation, which we want to be long so that we can accompany it serenely. All our red wines are then matured in barrels or wooden vats. We do not touch the wine until Easter. We do the racking when the moon is both waning and descending, in order for the wine to be as calm as possible. Unless absolutely necessary, we do not add any SO2 to the reds before bottling. The white wines are matured in large vats and barrels in order to maintain their freshness and the CO2 level and to avoid having any oaky overtones, which we are not looking for in our wines."
Carved from vineyards once owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and farmed organically by Julien Guillot's family since 1954, Clos Vignes du Maynes is one of the most distinctive growers in Burgundy. Aragonite comes from 40- to 80-year-old Chardonnay vines high on the slope, on thin soils of clay, crystallized limestone, and laced with other minerals. This wine is incredibly aromatic upon opening with aromas of golden pear, green apple, apricot, white grapefruit, honeysuckle, and bergamot; there is a hint of earthy heather honey and butterscotch. On the palate it is quite rich and luscious, in this warm low-yielding vintage, and much more tropical and salty than in years past. In fact, if tasted blind, I could see this being mistaken for a great Chardonnay from the Jura as it has fantastic acidity, and is beautifully textured, long, and mineral. On day two the aromas have softened a bit, and the palate has gained an added savory note that contributes to a still stunningly long finish. The 2018 Aragonite is not to be missed.
The 2018 Extra-Brut Ste. Geneviève is a superb Champagne method sparkling wine made with Pinot fin, Chardonnay, Gamay and Aligoté - 50% grown at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes and 50% purchased fruit. The wine shows lovely aromas of white peach and red fruits, spiced pear and honey. The palate is creamy and full, with pear, a hint of red currant and berry fruits, honey, stone and brown spice with fabulous length. This is unique and really lovely - it will be great fun to share this rare wine with friends and family as a special aperitif! David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, makes this lovely Mâcon-Villages (100% Chardonnay) from certified organic parcels in Viré-Clessé, Chardonnay and Montbellet, on Bathonian limestone with clay, rich in silica. The 2018 is a fascinating and very natural Chardonnay, showing bright pale gold color and high-toned aromas of lemon zest, white peach, pear, almond and honeysuckle. The palate is dense and supple with white fruit, stone and almond flavors, finishing with citrus and minerals. This is a young wine that will benefit from aeration if drinking now, and will cellar for ten years. 30 mg/l SO2.
Julien Guillot at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes makes this Mâcon Rouge from 20 different old Gamays, including Gamay "teinturiers" with thick skins and dark juice, with no added SO2. The 2017 shows a deep red color with aromas of blackberry, tart cherry, srawberry, black pepper, roast meat, fennel, citrus peel, violet... The palate is lean and elegant with citrusy black fruits, earth and mineral flavors, chalky and long. "This wine is indestructible" says Julien, and it's obviously built to last. Serve with a farm chicken in sauce, and decant or open in advance, but best to cellar for five or ten years. David Lillie
Julien Guillot's 2018 "Ultimatum Climat" is from a parcel in the soutern Beaujolais called "Les Pierres Bleues" - it's a gorgeous Beaujolais combining elegance and structure with beautiful fruit, for current drinking and medium-term cellaring. The vines are more than 100 years old, located in the commune of Bully on an ancient volcanic rift. The subsoil is limestone with sandy clay and dark blue metamorphic rocks, giving a strong salinity to the wine. The vineyard is in organic/biodynamic farming and the wine is produced in the Vignes du Maynes carbonic method with zero sulfur added. Deep red/black color: slight reduction then bright strawberry and raspberry fruit, violet, graphite, earth, licorice and citrus. The palate shows lush blackberry and raspberry fruit, creamy and sapid but backed with firm acidity, with violet, earth and citrus notes that continue in the long supple finish. Really delicious and nicely balanced for a 2018 at 12.5 % alcohol - drink now or cellar for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.
This is a new cuvee for Julien Guillot, using certified organic fruit from two parcels in Chenas: "Les Petites Pierres" - 60 year-old vines on granite stones and clay over granite bedrock, and "Gandelins" - 80 year-old vines in a south-facing vineyard on decomposed granite, bordering Moulin-a-Vent. Tasted last winter during our usual sprint through the many bottles and barrels at Vignes du Maynes, the wine showed complex red fruit aromas with black raspberry and strawberry fruit with earth and mint, quite elegant and silky textured, with terrific length. No added SO2. 36 btls for the US.
This "medieval" wine is a field blend of Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir, including the old varieties Gamay Petit Grain and Pinot Fin. The grapes were pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring. Although this is always a light, delicate wine, the 2019 weighs in at a whopping 12% alcohol! The color is a lovely and bright red; the aromas are ripe and floral with violet, ripe black-cherry and a melange of lush berries. The palate is light and delicate but loaded with ripe, pure strawberry/cherry fruit backed by citrusy acids. This is a gorgeous wine that should gain complexity with time, perhaps three to five years (or more?) but it's much too delicious right now to consider cellaring.(News from Julien - "Cuvée 910 in 2019 has the following blend: 50% gamay de Manganite,15% Pinot fin Auguste, 15% pinot noir, 20% Chardonnay Aragonite. To drink without moderation !") Zero added SO2.
The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of about 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic fermentation, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. 2018 is a superb vintage for the Cuvée Auguste! The wine shows elegant aromas of black raspberry, red currant and wild strawberry with hints of blood orange, rose and brown spice - really lovely. The palate shows a bright and beautiful melange of red currant, strawberry and tart cherry with citrus, earth and minerals, very sappy and dense. Elegant long finish of earth, stone and red fruits. This is a gorgeous wine, and quite delicious now, but cellaring of ten to twenty years should be very interesting. Zero added SO2. Congratulations to Julien Guillot for this beautiful Pinot! DL
Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD (!), now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2018s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and silky with raspberry/strawberry fruit, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2018 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
Starting with beautiful biodynamic grapes from Roland Pignard on "les Charmes" in Morgon, Julien worked his magic in the cellar with his zero-sulfur semi-carbonic vinification and the result is this superb Morgon from great terroir. The wine shows the ripeness of this excellent vintage in Beaujolais and the intense flavors of terroir always present in the Pignard wines over the years. Julien's vinification has created a beautifully balanced and pretty wine with fabulous length - drink now or cellar 5 to 10 years, only 36 btls in the US... DL