Julien Altaber

New'ish to the shop are the incredibly charming, energetic and lively wines from young'ish Burgundian (not by birth but by choice) winemaker Julien Altaber. After finishing wine school at Viti-Oeno of Beaune, Julien was accepted to do his year of training with Dominique Derain, a pioneer of biodynamics in the region and yet another colourful character that makes up the world of natural wine. The two hit it off immediately with Julien spending well beyond his year and finding himself working alongside Derain for more than 10 years. Devoted were the pair. Steadfast in his desire to make his own wine but finding himself unable to purchase a vineyard or winery (if you think real-estate is expensive in Sydney, try Burgundy, or Bordeaux, or Napa...) Julien started his winemaking journey making wine at Derain's winery from organic grapes purchased from friends and co-ops.

Throughout their relationship, Derain proved more than just mentor and was more like the "wine fairy godfather" as he not only helped Julien secure good plots of land with interesting vines and a winery, but also allowed him to make wine in his basement. Which to some, would seem no big deal, but! it's a definite NON in France for two different wineries to be under one roof – what if the wines get mixed up? Mon dieu! Luckily, there was enough separation between the two to placate French authorities that Julien's adventure continued. Although now, Julien and his wife Carole (she was also mentored by Derain and the two actually met making wine, SWOON) co-own Domaine Derain, Julien also makes wine under his own Sextant label. The wines from both are as special as they are rare...
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