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Sextant - Julien Altaber

Julien Altaber comes from Auvergne, south of Burgundy. After working in Beaujolais and Mâconnais, he began working with and for Dominique and Catherine Derain at the Domaine of the same name in Saint Aubin in 2002. The two of them were his role models for natural viticulture and identified with the biodynamic methods. Ultimately, it is a way of life as a farmer if you want to internalise and live out this rhythm - privately as well as in viticulture. Julien has been able to absorb this knowledge like a sponge.

Early on, Julien had his own winery - Sextant - and initially worked with purchased grapes. The vinification always took place in the Derains' cellar. Slowly but steadily, his side project grew. Sites were bought, equipment was purchased and finally, in 2013, a cellar was taken over.

In the meantime, he is on the verge of Domaine Derain from Dominique. However, both wineries will continue to operate under their own names. Because the styles are cardinally different. Derain could rather be described as classical.

Sextant wine style

At Sextant, on the other hand, Julien exhausts the possibilities. Clear, precise wines from Aligoté, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay.

He is also very fond of wines that are fermented on the skins, oxidised or left completely natural. The range is wide. The profiles are diverse.

His goal is not to compete with the big names of the region. He pursues completely different goals. Honest, authentic wines that show the grape variety and origin without being influenced by wood. And he masters this in white as well as in red. He can draw on vines from the most famous places in Burgundy, but his style is extremely independent, not interchangeable and full of character.

His wines provide a reasonable entry point, especially in times when prices in Burgundy seem to be exploding. Whether it's the classic Chardonnay from the small wooden barrel from Saint-Aubin or its Pet Nat made from Aligoté fermented on the skins for twelve months.

He intervenes as little as possible in the wine-making process. The healthy grapes come from top vineyards and this is the greatest blessing for him. Sulphur is not added to any of his wines. Julien strives to produce wholesome, straightforward wines that are great drinking pleasure.

Text and wine expertise: Marian Henß.