Domaine des Vignes du Maynes - The Brilliant Macon Wines of Julien Guillot!

5/31/11 -

We are very happy to have received our first shipment of wines from the talented and energetic Julien Guillot at the Domaine des Vignes du Maynes. The vineyards of this superb estate belonged to the Abbey of Cluny and date back to at least 900 AD. The top cuvèes, including the Macon-Cruzille "Aragonite," Bourgogne Rouge "Cuvèe Auguste" and Macon-Cruzille "Manganite" are certainly among the most unique and distinctive wines of Burgundy. (We will be featuring all of Julien's wines as they are released as well as his few negociant wines made with purchased fruit from organically-farmed vineyards.) The special cuvée 910 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 grapes were transported in carts pulled by Charolais bulls, then pressed by foot, vinified and aged without sulfur and bottled by hand in the spring.

The Domaine's seven hectares are in Cruzille on high-elevation east-facing slopes of hard crystallized limestone with thin clay soils. The vines average about fifty years of age, with some up to 100 and are replaced by massale selection.  Hand-harvesting of course into small containers. The red grapes are piled carefully in a pyramid shape and undergo a nine-day true carbonic maceration after which they are pressed, with the alcoholic fermentation lasting about fifteen days with pigeage by foot. Whites are pressed slowly in a wooden pressoir from 1865. Aging is sur lie in old barriques, without additives. The wines have a complexity both of fruit and of minerality which is unique.  Living soils such as at Vignes du Maynes produce micro-nutrients which pass into the vine roots through mycorrhizal funghi and which express the terroir, both in fruit aromatics and flavors through fermentation, as well as by the acids and mineral salts produced that shape the character and finish of the wine. The resulting juice rarely needs additives of any kind - "we have fifty years of experience in natural vinifications" says Julien, "and we pay careful attention of course to the right day and atmospheric pressure." The youthful M. Guillot, who had a lively career as actor and acrobat before returning to the family vineyards, is doing inspired work at the Domaine du Vignes du Maynes and we urge you to try his fascinating wines. (The lovely 2010 Bourgogne Rouge and the "Cuvèe 910," a field-blend made as it was 1100 years ago, will arrive later this summer)

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