Frédéric Julien used to be Vice-President of the Cooperative Cellar of Rasteau and started his own domaine in 2017 in the village of Vaucluse. Self-taught, with the help of friends and neighours Jerome Bressy, Gourt de Martens and Helen Durand, Ogier and others, Frederic is a perfectionist. He's thrown away many a barrel and vintage before getting to where he is now, and utterly nailing the no added SO2 cuvees.
The estate takes its name from a part of Rasteau called Gramiller – a terroir of many soils where they have 2.5 ha of vines. Since his beginnings in vine growing some twenty years ago, Frédéric Julien has always been a big supporter of organic farming and a strong believer in the importance of farming with nature, rather than against it. It's no surprise that they chose a small gecko, or tarente as the emblem of the estate which you can spot on their labels and corks. As Frederic comments; "it is a creature that is constantly present around the Mediterranean, and it is very useful in the natural balance because it eats flies and mosquitoes”.
Their 15ha of certified organic vines are spread across five lieu-dits:
Les Marcels (2.2 hectares): a beautiful hillside at the foot of the Montagnette with very stony marl soils, with the oldest Grenache vines dating back to 1901.
Gramiller (2.5 hectares): Located in La Montagnette, Gramiller is the origin of the domain name. South south east exposure with greatly varying soils across the plots- sandstone, sandy-clayey marls , blue clays and calcareous pebbles with a good dose of clay. Mostly Grenache.
Les Jas (0.5 hectares): also located on the Montagnette, with similar soil diversity to Gramiller. Surrounded by dense, diverse woodland with excellent biodiversity.
Sainte-Cécile les Vignes (1.3 hectares): moderately younger soils formed of fluvial deposits, producing richer wines than the Rasteau cru.
Les Ramières (2 hectares): Plot located on the outskirts of the Ouvèze , an old river bed with sandy soils bringing a lot of freshness to the juices, giving cuvées with strong drinkability .
Le Plan (1.7 hectares): Two plots located to the south of the appellation on a large alluvial terrace, characterized by poor and very stony soils providing juices
Vigneron Frederic makes wines that he describes as 'technological' due to the constant attention that he devotes to them, but that does not make them any less 'natural'. His wines are very precise, with as little external input as possible: just a minimal dose of SO2 at bottling for the estate’s wines and nothing at all for the Cuvées Natures. It’s all about the fruit! His no added SO2 cuvees are a masterclass in purity and consistency, and would convince even the most staunch critic of natural wine.