Château Villerambert-Julien in the sunset
hâteau Villerambert-Julien draws its name from the Latin Villa Ramberti, which was situated on an ancient site surrounded by dolmens and menhirs close to the Via Domitia. When the soil was first deeply tilled Gallo-Roman amphorae and pottery were found.
One must go back to 1231 to find written evidence of a vineyard at Villerambert under the feudal rule of Pierre Vidal de Villerambert, Lord of the Manor.
The family Balby de Vernon who remained the owners until 1858 when the Julien family, whose origins go back to the 16th Century in the region of Minerve, bought the Château, built in its present form in the 16th Century.
hus it is the 5th generation since the Château was acquired that is running today – Michel JULIEN. Going back in time, we find Etienne who was responsible for the purchase, then Marcel, George, his wife Anne Marie who took over the running of the property on the death of her husband, then Marcel, their son, who is still active and who during the 1950s built the foundations for the great vineyard of today.
arcel JULIEN was the first family member to set about the rebirth of quality on the Estate and then, Michel, who since 1989 has continued and expanded the improvement in quality to give to the Château its national and international allure, followed Marcel’s original plans.
OUR PHILOSOPHY AT WORK
A probant view of the work done in the vineyard
hat did you do with your talent ?” asked the father to each of his 3 sons according to the parable of Saint Matthew.
This phrase haunts unceasingly the mind of Michel JULIEN whose aim in life is to bring to perfection the enormous potential of his Estate.
Rigid discipline dictates therefore all strategic decisions and choices in the matter of work in the vineyard, of vinification and of maturing of the wine.
ith regard to work in the vineyard, the entire philosophy is based on the perfect marriage between the soil and the grape.
Therefore, firstly one must :
- respect the soil and its needs,
- choose vegetal material adapted to the soil and which is not too vigorous or productive,
- use agricultural practices based on high-density plantation to produce low grape yields on each vine but not too low in order to avoid water-stress,
- work the soil in order to allow the roots of the wine to penetrate as deeply as possible and thereby express the soil to the greatest possible extent
- prune severely but in a balanced fashion to keep down the yield and pave the way for concentration
- erect the vine on quality supports which favour photosynthesis and good aeration of the grape bunches
- finally correct the potential crop by green pruning
- above all try and achieve perfect maturity at the moment of picking
he methods of vinification respect the rules of course, but also make a point of listening to the wine-vats. A total refusal to enter into dogma and the will to remain open to all possibilities depending upon the state in which nature gives us the grape at the moment when it is picked. There could be vats of single grape-varieties or a blend of varieties. There could be pumping over or total transfer, long or even very long skin contact in the vat, etc... Everything during the vinification process, as well as the maturing process, should join together to produce the ideal result in the mind of Michel JULIEN. Colour, body, length, finesse and elegance should blend together as well as the aromas and the exotic fragrances.
THE FEEL OF THE PLACE
View of the chapel in the Château yard
ichel JULIEN has always thought that the locality in which is produced must be placed in a human, aesthetic, cultural and historical setting of great quality.
This begins with a social environment which should be motivating for those who work there since they, quite correctly, are the most important players in producing fine wine through the daily care and attention that they pay to each vine and each barrel.
On another level, Château Villerambert-Julien has the good fortune, through its historical past, to enjoy a great architectural patrimony, which Michel JULIEN is doing his level best to maintain and restore with taste, in order that the wine should be placed in an advantageous setting. The same philosophy is being applied to the landscaping of this historical estate.
What is more the presence of a soil as noble as the Villerambert marble has given Michel JULIEN the idea of splendidly setting off the Estate by creating a Marble alley lined with contemporary statues and leading to plots of vineyard and to the marble quarry. Work on this has just begun.
or Michel JULIEN, the work of a wine-grower is not just that of growing vines and making fine wine. He should look at it from a global point of view which is both uplifting and fascinating. This includes :
- respect for, and improvement of, his surrounding landscape
- the upkeep and restoration of his architectural heritage
- accepting the challenge to bring fame to the property, the wine and the area
- caring for the well-being of the men and the women who work for him as well as their training and advancement
- being involved in his own time and at his own cost in the affairs of the professional and collective organizations which concern him
- be persuaded that he has never achieved sufficient or done enough – that things could always be better...