When visiting Vintner’s Collective a few weeks ago, I discovered a new winery and winemaker. Quite frankly, we were there to taste a different wine which is known as one of the big wines that Napa has to offer. But, in the process, we came upon another wine that was quite enchanting and exciting.
Andy, the manager at Vintner’s Collective, introduced us to Julien Fayard, the owner and winemaker at Azur Wines. We had the pleasure of tasting through several wines with him and began to appreciate his philosophy and approach. We first had a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, and it was really masterful. It brought the fresh citrus fruit yet was very round on the mouth feel. There was crisp acidity which gave way to a soft suppleness that was reminiscent of wines from Sancerre. Sancerre in France is known for beautiful Sauvignon Blancs, and this wine reminded me of those wines.
Julien poured a red that was also very memorable. It was a 2009 Cabernet blend that was aromatic and presented with deep black fruit. There were layers of rich fruit and structure that displayed depth of flavors that sailed on. The finish was long and memorable and begged for another sip. The price for this lovely wine was $65 and well worth the experience.
This was my first experience of Azur and Julien. He is from France and has spent time working at grand Chateaux in France, such as Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Lafitte. In Napa Valley, he’s worked alongside renowned winemaker Philippe Melka.
Here’s what Julien has to say about winemaking: “As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of its place, its history and its uniqueness. That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity.”
Julien was a pleasure to meet. His wines were enjoyable and well worth the time and money. His wines are available in many excellent restaurants in California and Oregon. His wines are also available at Azur Wines.