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Jules Desjourneys - Benchmark Beaujolais

A few writeups on Desjourneys' wines that are the antithesis of stereotypical Beaujolais. They offer serious, age-worthy and complex expressions of place.

Duperray has crafted singular wines that exist in a context that's entirely their own… there's no doubt that they will change how the Beaujolais is perceived forever. William Kelley.

It’s hard to overstate how good these wines are, and how they transcend my expectations of their appellations. Now that Burgundy has achieved such levels of fame that wines from top domains are out of reach to many drinkers, it’s thrilling to find people exploiting terroirs that have previously, for one reason and another, been underestimated. These aren’t cheap wines in the context of Beaujolais but, given their absolute quality, they are relative bargains. Jamie Goode, Noble Rot 2018.

Longtime distributor of several of the Côte d'Or's most celebrated domaines, Fabien Duperray is today producing wines that are just as thrilling in the Beaujolais and the Mâconnais, demonstrating what is possible when neglected and underappreciated appellations are lavished with the same care and attention in their viticulture, vinification and élevage as their more esteemed cousins in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Always questioning, Duperray's Beaujolais cuvées are as prodigiously concentrated as ever but now see no oak during their long élevage. Their immense depth, structural seamlessness and effortless balance distinguish them as—at their best—the region's finest wines. Old vines, modest yields, organic farming and cultivation almost entirely by hand are the order of the day. In the cuverie and cellar, Duperray's amply trained palate and technical mastery of élevage, supplemented by now over ten years of experience, work to virtuosic effect. Any readers that have had the fortune to taste the memorable old Beaujolais of yesteryear from vintages such as 1929 and 1945 will find in these bottlings their best hope that the region may once again produce wines like those. William Kelley, The Wine Advocate, August 2019.

Fabien Duperray spent the first half of his career distributing the top end of Burgundy, here having access to legendary wines such as DRC and Coche Dury. During his time as a wine merchant he also plied his trade working with vignerons such Arnaud Ente (Meursault) and Jean-Yves Bizot (Vosne-Romanee). Hailing from Burgundy, Duperray did not have any land nor access to it. Yet in 2007 he found vineyards in Moulin a Vent and Fleurie and leapt the at the opportunity to start his own domain. 

Duperray is certified organic yet tends to his vines, which are all older than 65 years, with biodynamic practices. How it benefits the wine in his words, “it’s about the aesthetic of the wine, not the yields – that’s what I work for.” Overseeing everything in the vineyard, Fabien rejects the use of tractors preferring to solely work by hand. In the winery, he strongly believes fermentation is the key to complex wines thus he exerts larger during the early stages. Beyond that, he typically utilises little sulphur and extended elevage in little to no oak, rather using concrete or glass. 

These wines are the antithesis of stereotypical Beaujolais. They offer serious, age-worthy and complex expressions of place.

As these statements above suggest, these wines should be approached outside of your typical Beaujolais parameters. These are closer in style and structure to premier cru red Burgundy. They are deep, structured, savoury, long and layered. In general, they are full bodied wines within the Pinot/Gamay sphere. While we do not have notes on the wines below, these are all meant for long haul. They are released with age yet will continue to develop further for many years. In short, drink them or cellar them – you will be rewarded either way. Ches Cook, FWC.

The wines:

Domaine Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé 2016
Domaine Jules Desjourneys Morgon Vielles Vignes 2014
Domaine Jules Desjourneys Chenas La Judgement Dernier 2014
Domaine Jules Desjourneys Moulin a Vent 2014
Domaine Jules Desjourneys Moulin a Vent Les Michelon 2014