“This is the reference domain for both Juliénas and St-Amour. The power of the former (7ha) makes it the Nuits-St-Georges of Beaujolais, while the bitter-edged cherrystone fruit of the latter (just one ha, alas) has electrifying depth and pungency.”
-Andrew Jefford, The New France
Domaine du Clos du Fief, the formal but rarely used name of the estate, is made up of some of the best plots in Juliénas. The steep slopes where the vines grow form a geological circus, an almost circular basin creating and retaining very high temperatures in summer, and ensuring Juliénas grapes good ripeness and early harvests. A few years ago, Michel Tête enlarged his holdings by purchasing Beaujolais-Villages vineyards, part of the Château de Jullié estate, in the village of the same name west of Juliénas.
Tête doesn’t make any claims to organic viticulture, but his ways are old-fashioned enough that they could qualify for the label. As a winemaker, he follows quasi-Burgundian techniques for his Beaujolais-Villages and Juliénas, with a semi-carbonic maceration where the cap of skins is kept submerged in the juice, and remontages break it several times a day. His top cuvée, called Cuvée Prestige, is made from a selection of his oldest vines, macerated in open vats with remontages and a half of it is barrel fermented and aged for 10 months.