Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”
Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”

Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”

Burgundy / Beaujolais, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$27.00
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Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”

We have a few guiding principles in the world of wine and one of them will be repeated until the end of time: “Wild Soul” from Beaujolais phenom Julien Sunier is one of the purest, most thirst-quenching reds not just in Beaujolais, but all of Burgundy, France, Europe, and really, any region imaginable. So, whenever the new vintage drops, we always implore our subscribers to pop and pour this high-spirited micro-gem with tremendous frequency. You’ve listened: The feedback for Julien Sunier’s “Wild Soul” Beaujolais remains some of the most fanatical and enthusiastic we’ve seen, for any category—but there’s a catch.

But there’s a catch—there always is with wines of this nature! With just 6.5 hectares of vines, a small village could wipe out Julien Sunier’s annual production in one fell swoop. That’s why we “gamed the system” by securing our own stash of the 2020 while it was being bottled at the domaine. It’s now arrived, and this lively, gorgeously perfumed red delivers an untamed sense of purity and joy that few artisan vignerons could ever hope to match. Carefully sourced from high-elevation organic parcels, “Wild Soul” is the most affordable and instantly gratifying cuvée of Sunier’s rarefied lineup. Give it a flash decant, serve around 55 degrees, and keep a second and third bottle at the ready!

Sunier is one of a new wave of producers who’ve helped raise the profile of Beaujolais as a stronghold of natural farming and winemaking. Following in the footsteps of local legends like Lapierre and Foillard, Sunier would also be considered a disciple of the legendary Jules Chauvet, who was preaching the natural wine gospel in Beaujolais as far back as the 1950s. Yet while he hails from Burgundy (Dijon), Sunier wasn’t from a wine family; his mother was a hairdresser who counted vigneron Christophe Roumier as a client. In his twenties, Sunier followed the itinerant “cellar rat” path, interning in California and New Zealand before landing back in Burgundy, where he worked with the likes of Nicolas Potel and Jean-Claude Rateau. He then worked for the large négociant firm Mommessin, where, among other things, he became intimately acquainted with the terroir of Beaujolais and its Gamay grape.


Throughout all of Julien’s vineyard sites, each vine is chemically-untouched and tended to by hand—he’s adamant about farming organically with biodynamic principles. For his “Wild Soul” label, grapes are organically sourced from a local farmer/friend, but he vinifies the wine just as he would his Cru Beaujolais, i.e. naturally. At Julien’s winery in Avenas, the Gamay grapes underwent a cold carbonic vinification with ambient yeasts. When it came time for pressing with an old-fashioned wooden press, the juice was transferred via gravity. It was then gently transferred—again, via gravity—into a combination of large concrete eggs and wide stainless steel tanks. After aging for about nine months on fine lees, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 


Julien purposely avoids sulfur during the vinification and aging process but does add the lightest touch right at bottling to give the wine more buoyancy, aromatic lift, and snappy freshness. I advise decanting the wine for 15 minutes prior to serving in large Burgundy stems so that the initial carbonated “prickle” blows off. Burgundy may have its pretensions, but “Wild Soul” does not. This is a carefree yet deeply satisfying Gamay that jolts the senses with juicy huckleberry, raspberry, green strawberry, and ripe red cherry alongside grape stem, violet, crushed granite, cracked peppercorn, and damp herbs. The medium-bodied palate is ultra-refreshing with vibrantly plump fruits, chiseled minerality, and a wildly refreshing crunchiness to each layer. Enjoy often, slightly chilled, on any occasion. Cheers!

Julien Sunier, “Wild Soul”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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