Cayenne comes from forty year old vines grown over basalt and here the black, volcanic soils have a marked effect on this wine, meaning that even in this warmer vintage, it remains lively, fragrant and full of charm. From three hectares of vines planted on a steep slope, hidden amongst woodlands, high in the hills of Fleurie.
When it comes to great Beaujolais, few do it better than Julie Balagny. Originally from Paris, Julie spent years making wine for others in the southwest of France before deciding to branch out on her own and when the time came in 2009, she wound up in Beaujolais. She found a remote eight hectare property in Fleurie, encompassing three hectares of vines on some seriously steep slopes, surrounded by prairies and woodland.
In a normal year Julie will bottle three different wines from this plot; Cayenne, En Remont and Simone, reflecting these vastly different terroirs. Vines are between 30-90 years old, the vineyard work is organic and because of the steepness of the hills, done by hand. She recently acquired a hectare of Beaujolais-Villages and little under a hectare of Moulin-à-Vent and now works just under five hectares of vines.
In the cellar, Julie works in a similar way to most of the area’s greats. Whole bunches enter the vats, ferment naturally and undergo a cold carbonic maceration. Once there, the fruit is left to be, there is no remontage, no pigeage. When the maceration is finished, the grapes are pressed slowly and gently over the course of several hours, by hand, using a real relic of a press. Elevage takes place in old barrels and when ready the wines are bottled with no additions at all.
Like all great wines, there is something about Julie’s not easy to put into words. They are defined by gorgeous aromatics and a delicate, almost ethereal quality that we just love.