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Julien Renard
the Lower Mosel,
etched on the head of a pin

{Julien Renard is one of the most talked about growers in Europe, loved by both the Mosel and by Paris.}
sold out

Julien Renard 2021 mixed three-pack
Three Pack includes:
1 bottle of 2021 Müller-Thurgau
1 bottle of 2021 Weissburgunder
1 bottle of 2021 Riesling (Dry)

Some of you have perhaps already heard of Julien Renard; his wines have a fascinating and very specific reach. Maybe it says something that we had to go to Paris to try our first Julien Renard wine?

With only a bit more than one hectare being farmed in the frighteningly steep, fortress-like terraces of the Lower Mosel (photographed above), this is one of the smallest estates we work with.

Yet, even despite the rarity, in certain circles his wines are among the most talked-about in Germany, and beyond.

When we first reached out in the summer of 2020, Julien politely told us that not only was his current vintage sold out, but the vintage still in barrel that would not be released for another year was also sold out. Yes, this is an offering nearly three years in the making, just to give you some context.

At the same time, we understand many of you have never heard of Julien. This is, after all, the first time these wines have been offered in the U.S. - this is Julien's U.S. premiere.

I've tasted all three of these wines on three separate occasions, over a number of days, going back again and again, partly for research and inspiration for this email, and partly because I felt like I wanted to "understand" these wines better.

I felt like if I had another sip, tasted them over another hour, I'd learn more, as if I was some vinous paleontologist trying to uncover some very old and very essential language.

But honestly, mostly I kept going back because the wines are so utterly fascinating and delicious.

They are dense and compact, yet they have so much presence, so many layers, so many unique angles and crevices. They are glossy and porcelain-smooth, exquisitely balanced and seamless; they are woven by gossamer threads of citrus oil, mint and salt.

Yet there is also a wild side, a profound energy, an acidity that ripples through the wines and does, as the Mosel Fine Wines tasting note below also indicates, show subtle hints of volatile acidity. Don't let this scare you: volatile acidity isn't my favorite thing either, yet even at its most intense in these three bottles it seems woven into the wine itself somehow, as if the Mosel and the Jura shared an ancient ancestor.

And all this stuff is within the framework of thrillingly dry wines, the largest of which clocks in at a mere 10.6% alcohol. The Müller-Thurgau is one of the most petite dry wines I've ever tasted at only 9.4% alcohol! It's curious that this grower in the Lower Mosel reminds me in many ways of another of one of my favorite growers, far away at the opposite end of the river in the Obermosel, Jonas Dostert. (And indeed, without having any idea, I discovered while visiting Jonas that they are very good friends.)

But let me quote from the absolutely bonkers review Mosel Fine Wines gave one of Julien's 2020 single-vineyard dry Rieslings. Note, we are not offering the specific wine this note describes, but the kaleidoscopic, multitudinous array of flavors in the tasting note give you as good a sense of these wines as anything I've read.

"Yellow-golden in color, this exhibits a superbly animating and pure nose of intense minty herbs, lemon peel, grilled grapefruit, yuzu, anise, wheat and bakery elements, fresh almond, and candied tangerine, all wrapped into subtle elements of volatile acidity. The wine initially proves broad and intense on the palate (and this despite only having 11.5% alcohol!) yet is quick to show a superbly herbal and above all pure zesty side in the fierce and sharp finish. The after-taste is all about spices, zest, and salty elements. What a gorgeous natural and intense yet pure Riesling!"

Julien is part and parcel of a movement in the Mosel we have spoken much about, referencing certain growers including Philip Lardot, Wolfram Stempel, Jonas Dostert and Jakob Tennstedt, to name a few of the most important.

If Julien's wines don't easily fit into the strict definitions of the "classic Mosel," I hardly think the wines belong in the "natural wine" camp either. In many ways they present very traditionally.

Yet the issue for us is not categorizing growers into one camp or the other. The issue is simple: Do the wines speak of the Mosel? Do they speak of the grape from which they are made? Are the wines clean and bright and correct?

When these requirements are met, as they are here, the new language that is being written by these young Mosel growers is beyond fascinating - it is provocative, cerebral... delicious.

This is just the beginning of a very exciting story - a story we are honored to be able to tell.

This is already a long email, and we have very little wine to offer. So, for those of you interested, we've included a bit more on Julien and his wines below. 

Stephen and Robert

2021 Renard Müller-Thurgau
This wine is sourced from a tiny parcel of ungrafted Müller-Thurgau planted in slate. This small section of Müller-Thurgau was a part of that first parcel from 2017. In the vintage 2021, this is one of the sharpest Müller-Thurgau's I've ever had - only Stefan Vetter is there as a comparison. It is bone dry and only 9.4% alcohol. The wine shows a very high-toned saline quality, ocean breezes and cracked almonds. The Müller-Thurgau, unsurprisingly, does present the most volatile acidity, yet it is delicately threaded into the wine - in a way it feels like a wispy breath from the Jura. The detail on the wine is incredible: minty, herbal notes, from cilantro to flower stalks. The presentation of fruit is vivid and buoyant with grape skins and apple skins, lemon peel and zest. For such a petite wine, this is thrillingly persistent.

2021 Renard Weissburgunder
Renard's Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) is sourced from two parcels, one young and one old. Fermented bone dry, the wine is only 10% alcohol. It was aged in wood for 15 months. After the Müller-Thurgau, the wine has an unquestionable elegance and fine-ness. I can't quite describe it, but it's very dainty and finessed yet with great tactile presence. It shows less of the bright citrus that dominates in the Müller - here the effect is darker fruit, mysterious and herbal, like a tart, black cherry in a mint garden, layered under washes of salt and mineral, a vibrant and persistent acidity. Again that wisp of the oxidative, hay and dried grasses, salt and almonds; that Jura exhale.

2021 Renard Riesling
The Riesling, for me, is the star of the show; it is the bulky monster here at 10.6% - an avant garde Mosel Kabinett Trocken. The wine is sourced from various old-vine parcels and spends 15 months in old and neutral barrels. The nose is spicy, black pepper and spearmint, with a finely etched array of citrus, from lemon peel and lemon oil, through lime zest and into mandarin and orange zests and oils. The wine is profoundly mineral and salty, with a lifted and perfumed aromaticity. The overall effect is magical; intense yet elegant and long.

A short Julien Renard Biography
Julien Renard was born to a French father and German mother. Growing up just north of Cologne, Julien's first love was the theatre. However, after some years, needing a break and beginning to get very into the natural wine scene, Julien decided to go and work for a winemaker for three weeks. It was devastatingly hard work; he loved it. For the first time in many years, he slept soundly through the night. That was that. Knowing nothing about German wine, he bought a number of mixed cases and, focusing on the "elite" VDP growers, reached out to a number of them. Only one estate, Heymann-Löwenstein in the village of Winningen in the Lower Mosel, emailed back. This was his introduction to the Mosel; it was a brutal introduction. Julien and I have, by this point, talked for hours and while I don't want to go into it too deeply, there is a connection between the severity of the landscape here, the harshness and physical exhaustion of the work, and the way this affects your mental perspective. Julien said something like: "Looking at these vineyards; at first I was afraid - and it was months and months of pain. But you have to climb the vineyards, you have to push, and you have to climb up within yourself as well."

Julien worked with Löwenstein for a number of years before finding in 2017 a tiny, 0.7 hectare parcel that a grower said he could work. From the beginning, he knew roughly how he wanted to work. All the parcels are worked by hand and Julien has a viticultural practice that is organic, yet employs many ideas around no-till farming. The grapes are carefully harvested in small bins and are brought to the winery (a small cellar in Winningen) to be foot-stomped in the bins and then pressed slowly with a basket press. The process can take all night. Each parcel goes into its own barrel, which is incredibly important for Julien as he is still learning his sites. The wines are then put into a selection of barrels, from used barriques to 500 liter barrels, and aged for up to two years. Only in the context of the Mosel would his approach be seen as "natural." As Philip Lardot has said in regards to his process, which is similar in the length of élevage and allowing the wines to go through malolactic: "I'm just making white wine." Julien's wines are bottled with lower levels of sulfur; all the information is provided on the back label.

Currently, Julien bottles a "basic" line - included in this offer - as well as a few very small "single-vineyard" or "single-parcel" wines. These single-parcel wines will be released in the fall of 2023. Quantities are such that we will have to allocate these bottles to those of you who support this offer.

This offer is now closed. If you need help finding the wines please email

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