Region: Fleurie, Beaujolais
Gamay is a fantastical grape. It’s a grape that inspires so many different characteristics. It’s a grape that really runs the gamut of flavor. If you’re looking for fruit—Gamay. If you’re looking for depth and mushrooms—Gamay. Glou glou? Gamay. Structure and complexity? You guessed it. Julie Balagny’s ‘En Remont’ is a testament to all the different aspects of Gamay that we know and love. Its structure is silky, yet put together. The acid is lively, inspiring you for another sip. It’s floral and deep—it doesn’t lack complexity.
I’ve heard of Julie Balagny along the grapevine (lol), and mostly, as with many female winemakers, men have told me she’s “a recluse”, and “weird”. No matter what you may have heard, Julie is a serious winemaker who focuses on her task at hand—making interesting, complex, sometimes challenging wines that play to a sense of nostalgia and memory. She grew up in Paris, fell in love with the countryside, and moved to Beaujolais in 2009, finding a small area of Fleurie to call her home. Her wine benefits from natural yeast and is steeped in the Beaujolais tradition of cold carbonic maceration, inspiring the fresh raspberry fruit so evident in the wine.
As a Brooklynite who went to school upstate, I relate so much to Julie’s love of the country and eagerness to move out of the big city. Her character vibes with me, her pull to nature and wine country appeal to me. To be honest, Julie’s wines—I’ll say it—they push me a bit. The combination of the challenge and the inspiration of the winemaker, though, move me. Today, Julie lives in the Moulin-A-Vent area of Beaujolais, among chickens, cats, and dogs, using old-school hand-cranked American presses, moving into biodynamic production, and really connecting with the land around her. I’m so glad for winemakers like Julie, and the culture and forward-thinking (yet, so rooted in tradition) winemaking that she represents.