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Julien Courtois, Ancestral, 2018

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Dark Fruit, Rich, Gamey

Loire / Red / Gamay, Cot / Organic 




Julien Courtois



Wine Type





VDF, Loire








Gamay Franc-de-Pied planted in 1978, Cot (Malbec) planted in 2003 and Gascon planted in 2006. Grapes are hand harvested before natural fermentation in old oak barrels. Ageing for 12 months in old barrel. Only 1 racking, no filtration, no fining. A wine with great structure, body and juicyness. This isn't light and bright Gamay but deeper whilst retaining juicyness.

Notes on the producer

Julien Courtois created his own vineyard, Le Clos de la Bruyère, in 1998, having learned the trade from his father, Claude. The 4.5 hectare domain in Soings en Sologne is run by Julien and his girlfriend, Heidi Kuka. Here they work with seven varieties of grapes, including an ungrafted Menu Pineau, planted in 1978, which is used to make the Originel wine. Both Julien and his father have always kept to the principles of making wines from low-yield vineyards, allowing them to reach the optimum concentration, and working on the basis of natural cycles. This means that the harvest takes places at the point of the grapes’ peak maturity, and all by hand. Chemical treatment for the vines is also avoided, with plant-based mixtures used instead.

Julien has worked tirelessly to reinvigorate long damaged soils so they might be brought back into harmony with nature. Everything is done manually with little sulfur added at bottling, if any; Julien is a non-interventionist winemaker, never relying on herbicides or pesticides, only organic processes from start to finish. The vine rows are left to carefully landscaped vegetation - herbs and flowers - providing for a variety of fauna that are able to roam freely through the vineyards.

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