2020 Domaine Sancy (Thomas Broyer), Julienas
2020 Domaine Sancy (Thomas Broyer), Julienas

2020 Domaine Sancy (Thomas Broyer), Julienas

Beaujolais, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$30.00

2020 Domaine Sancy (Thomas Broyer), Julienas

One of the many marvels of great Cru Beaujolais is that it can be richly colored and quite deeply concentrated but lively and refreshing at the same time. There’s fruit, earth, and flowers in abundance, but no excesses of tannin or alcohol to weigh you down. That is the magic of Domaine Sancy’s Juliénas: It tastes “big” without, in fact, being big. What makes this wine even more impressive is that it’s from the very big 2020 vintage (a year that produced many unrecognizably big Pinot Noirs and Gamays from Burgundy) and yet it displays terrific balance and spot-on Gamay varietal character. Third-generation proprietor Thomas Broyer draws on some well-aged vines in Juliénas (40-60 years), so that was likely a big help—and, in true Cru Beaujolais fashion, this wine’s value-for-dollar proposition is downright incredible. There are many pretenders to the throne these days (and they all find their way into our Daily Discovery queue), but Cru Beaujolais is still the value king: Take a bunch, because you won’t want to stop at one.

As Burgundy-philes are aware, the name Juliénas is an ode to Julius Caesar. The Romans planted vines in Beaujolais over 2,000 years ago, and, according to wine lore, their place of choice was Juliénas, which is complicatedly diverse in soil types. Partly sandwiched, in the northern sector, between Chénas and Saint-Amour, the best-kept secrets of Juliénas have unusual blue-colored stones of schist, volcanic material, and granite. The magic is these blueish colored stones on steep south-facing slopes, which enhances Gamay with exotic spices, pitch-perfect floral notes, and an intensity that rivals age-worthy Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. 

Thomas Broyer’s above-mentioned old vines in Juliénas cover about 7.5 hectares (in all, he farms about 14 hectares across four different Beaujolais Crus). He describes his estate parcels as occupying a “mid-slope” position, with full-south exposures, with soils composed of decomposed granite, schist, and some clay. His approach to vinification is “traditional”—not carbonic maceration traditional but rather crushed, mostly-destemmed grapes traditional. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, with skin maceration lasting roughly 12 days, and the aging is carried out in tank as well.

The result is a fresh, satisfying, and quite-substantial Gamay driven by primary fruit and palpable granitic minerality. In the glass, it’s a deep, nearly opaque dark ruby into magenta and soft purple. On the nose, it is a breeze of crushed black raspberries peppered with crushed violets, peonies, star anise, and an undercurrent of dark, stony earth. It is plenty smooth, pretty, and soft, but there is also a nice crunch of acid and tannin which gives the wine some backbone. There’s enough minerality and grip to take on a steak frites or a coq au vin, but not so much structure that you can’t pop and pour immediately—which is what we strongly advise you do. This is elevated “house wine” of supreme versatility and easy enjoyability. Don’t miss it!

2020 Domaine Sancy (Thomas Broyer), Julienas

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