Julien is a kind, sensitive and soft-spoken vigneron with a strong thirst for knowledge: as well as being a bee-keeper (a passion depicted on his labels), he studied winemaking in Dijon; brewed beer with monks in Belgium, made cheese in Italy and researched sake yeasts in Japan!
Returning to France, he chose the Loire for its proximity to Brittany (where he grew up) and worked with two Vouvray growers, Vincent Carême and Sébastien Brunet, before settling down in the black Anjou. Moved by wines from Richard Leroy and Mark Angéli, among others and enthralled by the electric quality of Chenin on schist, Julien chose the (then) affordable Coteaux du Layon for his first project, Les Roches Sèches, in 2010.
Nowadays, Julien rents a barn at the back of a farm, a rudimentary and DIY set up where wild-yeasts fermentations are carried out in fibreglass and oak, and sulphur is kept to a bare minimum if used at all. Planted in 1973 and 1955, his vines are scattered around five lieu-dits, and they have been farmed organically for many years; the yields are low, giving top-grade grapes which in return produce characterful wines.
Julien does have a special touch, and the 2018s, his first solo effort, are a joy to drink with incredible sapidity despite the vintage’s heat. A ‘grand vigneron’ in the making.