Andrew Guard

Beaumes de Venise

If there is a prettier vineyard in this part of France then I would like to see it. La Ferme St Martin is serene with sweeping views of the Mont Ventoux and the Dentils de Montmirail. It’s a long winding road up there and not easy to find but if I were a vine, I think I would feel very lucky to be planted here because the Domaine de la Ferme St. Martin is particularly well known in the area for it’s exemplary biodynamic viticulture and it’s outstanding wines.

In 1981 Guy, with his wife Michèle, went to the first ‘Salon des vins des Vignerons Indépendants’ which took place in Paris each year on the Quai d’Austerlitz. Wine lovers, sommeliers and restaurateurs were brought together and shared their passion for wine. After a few years this became a hub of networking and ideas and as a result many wine bars opened in Paris; Le Baratin, Willies, Pipos and the Moulin à Vins to name a few (some still there today). Guy tasted, talked and shared ideas with the owners of these bars and also other vignerons from different regions of France and this stirred his passion and desire to produce his wines from healthy, organically grown grapes and as little intervention in the winemaking as possible.

The domaine itself was bought by Guy’s father in 1955 and the cellar established in 1963. There are 22 hectares on various terraces at altitudes between 200 and 600 meters. 15ha are in Beaumes de Venise, 5ha in Cotes de Ventoux and 2 in Cotes du Rhône. Guy Jullien’s vineyards lie within both the Beaumes de Venise and the Côtes de Ventoux appellations. Incidentally he only makes red wine; none of the regions famous (but erratic) sweet Vin doux Naturel.

At Ferme St Martin there is a reason why the wines taste so good. To begin with, the vineyards are all ploughed and no synthetic substances are used - all the work done in the vineyard is done in order to produce healthy grapes whilst retaining the life of the soil and balance in nature that surrounds them, particularly the flora and fauna that surrounds the vine.After an initial sorting in the vineyard, the grapes undergo a second sorting in the winery with the belief that the quality of the grapes directly determines the quality of the wine. All this care and effort and look at the prices!

The wines here are all very intense, in colour, flavour and concentration; due in no small part to the small yields and exemplary viticulture at this estate. The “La Gerine” is a fruity, soft and elegant red with a gentle spicy complexity. The “Terres Jaunes” by contrast is full, fleshy and polished. It is very refined and elegant despite it’s concentration. The “Cuvée St Martin” is qualitatively equivalent to very good Châteauneuf du Pâpe.


Written by Andrew Guard — June 16, 2012