The Beaujolais Boys

Julien Merle

Age: 31

Colin Farrell lookalike Julien Merle is a lone star shining on the periphery of the Beaujolais region.

Taking the reins at his family property eight years ago aged 23, he produces small amounts of old vine natural wine from eight hectares in Légny in the south of the region.

The charismatic 31-year-old is passionate about promoting the quality of southern Beaujolais. “There’s a lot of snobbery towards the south in the north. They think we’re not up to scratch,” he admits.

Merle makes five wines, and is keen to keep production down in order to focus on quality.

His top wine, Cuvée Philibert, is made from old vines and aged for eight months in French oak barriques.

All the wines in his range display bright fruit, freshness and uplifting acidity, proving that southern Beaujolais can compete with the crus in the quality stakes.

Like many of the new generation, Merle is keen to champion natural winemaking – all of his wines are sulphite free and made with indigenous yeasts. “I want to share the taste of my land through my wines,” he says.

3 Responses to “The Beaujolais Boys”

  1. Gosh so much passion abounding! Great news for Beaujolais and just what it needs to freshen up its image.
    I did smile to myself though as I wondered what the reaction would be if it was a line up of 10 young female winemakers treated in the same way – you’d never get away with it 🙂

  2. I love drinking good Beaujolais and am so glad to see the new generation moving ahead and respecting the terroir and the grape..Foillard, Lapierre,Thivin.Brun have shown just what the region can do and now we have more to look forward to….go Gamay!!!

  3. I went on a 3 day study tour with Harpers/Inter Beaujolais recently. The quality and passion shown by the younger generation was paramount. A willingness to experiment whilst maintaining a very high standard for the appellations wines. Consistency was key too across the climats.
    Paul Henry Thillardon, Christophe LaPierre and Romain Jambon are not only taking the reins of Beaujolais but are all old school mates who are sharing their knowledge between them with their wines and production.
    Keep an eye out central Burgundy. Your noisy, southern neighbour is coming.

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