Fresh and sweet red fruits dance around the deeper, more powerful aspects which take a bit of time to be wrangle in. It is not every day that we can taste powerful red wines with citrus notes that subtly elevate the darker fruit and earth elements of the wine. Les Trois Sources is the most fun-loving and generous cuvée of the bunch. While tasting with other VJ wines from the same vintage, this wine constantly begs for your attention and it is hard not to give in. The 80+ year-old vines bring more serious depth to the wine which is hard to get to because the wine is far too easy to drink quickly, even on a 90 degree day!
Terroir: Located on the north side of the Mont Redon plateau, this is made up of, well, you guessed it, three vineyards. Unlike many estates in Chateauneuf-du-Pape that blend parcels from all over the appellation, these parcels are right next to each other. The soils are made of the same basic sand and calcium that come from this north face. The name Trois Source not only implies that is comes from three vineyards, but from three vineyards that each have their own spring; in French, source, is the word for this. Given the nature of this aspect and the direct contact with the Mistral winds from the north, Vieille Julienne’s vineyards are able to find perfectly balanced ripeness with many layers of complexity.
Jean-Paul Daumen, the 5th generation owner and winemaker of Vieille Julienne, is one of the most intriguing and influential winemakers in France. Despite being at the top of his field, he remains a committed student of wine; he is curious to no end and completely open to new ideas. Being around him is a pleasure as he speaks of what he is doing through questions and conversations rather than a dictation of his philosophies. He is in a rarified group of winemakers who have a vision and achieve it to the slightest detail every vintage. These are a must if you are serious about southern French wine.
Jean-Paul embraced biodynamics when he took over the family estate in 1990. He is not evangelical about his beliefs but it is clear that his farming method abandons all herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and chemical products used in the vineyard and avoids all unnatural additions (including cultured yeasts) in the cellar, save SO2 which is only added before bottling. It best said on Jean Paul’s website, “the climatic conditions, the sun, atmospheric pressure, the effects of the moon and the planets, are as many parameters that seems obvious to take into consideration.” Biodynamic farming method is a couple of steps beyond an organic practice and is often called a holistic approach to grape growing and winemaking.
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