Domaine Julien Sunier – Avenas
‘A good bottle is an empty bottle.’
After having learnt the ropes in New-Zealand and California, Julien Sunier returned to his native Burgundy where he completed his training with Christophe Roumier and with Nicolas Potel. He then took in charge the vinifications at Mommessin’s ‘maison de négoce’ and finally, five years later, in 2008, started working on his own.
Julien welcomes us at home, in the hamlet of Avenas (138 souls and 700m high) in Haut Beaujolais, which dominates the Grosne Valley, between Beaujolais and Mâconnais. An exceptional site.
He takes us around his installations, the tub, the cellar, the magnificent 18th century farmhouse he is restoring. The work accomplished in so little time is bluffing. He then brings a few kept cold bottles and narrates us with enthusiasm the new start of Beaujolais, sometimes looked at a bit condescendingly by his Burgundian friends, whom he might remind that, fifty years ago, wines from the best Beaujolais vintages reached the same prices as the ones from Chambolle-Musigny or Nuits-Saint-Georges… About ten kilometers away from Avenas, Julien rents 10 acres on the Crus Classés of Morgon, Fleurie and Régnié, converted to organic agriculture and operated by him alone. Since 2008 all his wines are fermented by carbonic maceration techniques, whole grapes, no exogenous yeasts. They are not filtered and only a small quantity of sulphur (1Omg/l) is added to the bottling. Breeding in Burgundy barrels (no new wood).
The wines are the true reflection of their grower: full of beautiful energy. Furthermore, they are perfectly open.