Fabien Duperray was best known as one of Burgundy’s leading fine wine agents until he decided to become a winemaker. Now his name is synonymous with the production of world-class Beaujolais.
In 2007 Duperray purchased ancient Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent, where some vines were more than 140 years old. In 2014, he partnered with Fuissé's Christophe Thibert to buy some parcels of Chardonnay in a range of Mâconnais appellations.
Jules Desjourneys is certified organic but Duperray farms biodynamically. He has a hand in the entire process, from viticulture to winemaking, and his focus is to craft the most balanced, age-worthy wines possible. This very approach has resulted in his wines generating a cult following and receiving much critical acclaim in a relatively short time.
Duperray’s attention to detail extends to doing everything by hand. He doesn’t own a tractor, so even the soil is tilled by hand. His yields are kept extremely low. He is often the last in the appellation to pick - sometimes by more than a week - harvesting only when the grapes have achieved maximum ripeness.
After harvesting, the fruit is hand sorted and whole clusters are pressed and then fermented in concrete tanks. The wine is transferred to bespoke 400 litre barrels and aged for up to three years before bottling.
The domaine produces Mâconnais whites and Beaujolais reds. Duperray’s winemaking approach clearly draws on lessons learned from the producers he represented as an agent, including Jean-François Coche, Arnaud Ente and Pierre Morey.
Despite Duperray’s confidence in his farming and winemaking methods, he chose to not use his name on the wine he produces. Calling his domaine Jules Desjourneys is a nod to both tradition and his unorthodox outlook. He selected Jules in honour of the great Beaujolais vigneron Jules Chauvet, and Desjourneys “because I liked how it sounded next to Jules”.
"The irrepressible Fabien Duperray displays just as virtuosic talents in the vinification and élevage of his Mâconnais whites as he does with his Beaujolais reds, drawing on lessons learned in the company of the likes of Jean-François Coche, Arnaud Ente and Pierre Morey." - William Kelley, Wine Advocate