Domaine de la Vieille Julienne (Southern Rhone)
Jean-Paul Daumen joined his family domaine in the 1992 vintage and has taken it to new heights. Working only 10 hectares of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 5 hectares of Côtes-du-Rhône, he has farmed his land bio-dynamically since 2000. He made this decision not to be part of the ‘movement’ but, rather, to encourage the roots of his vines to reach deeper into the soil.
Today the Domaine de la Vieille Julienne produces some of the very finest Châteaneuf-du-Papes and Côtes-du-Rhône made, although, sadly, in miniscule quantities. His wines have become world-renowned and very hard to find.
In 2010, Jean-Paul did something that I don’t believe has been done in the region. He split his already-popular traditional wine into two different, terroir cuvees, Trois Sources and Haut Lieux. Many have fashioned ‘special’ cuvees that are vine-age based or where a different vinification was employed, but these are cuvess designed to show the different terroir on the estate, much like is done by tradition in Burgundy. Jean-Paul didn’t ‘need’ to do this, but he thought is was important and, for the long run, would create an interesting personality expression of the different sites that make up La Vieille Julienne.
Also in 2010, Jean-Paul began a project under his 'Daumen' label (pictured at right.) These are wines made partly from vineyards that he owns and partly from vineyards own by friends. However, Jean-Paul works the vineyards as if they were his own, and the vineyards are farmed organically or biodynamically. This represents tremendous value!