Domaine Julien Meyer in the Alsace, North-East France, is a pioneering winery when it comes to biodynamic farming and natural wines. Dating back to 1706, Patrick and Mireille Meyer took over the winery in 1984. Like many winemakers, Patrick studied viticulture and was taught the supposed benefits of conventional methods, such as spraying the vines with a range of pesticides. Having employed these modern techniques, he quickly saw the negative impact of such practices and realised that his mother’s traditional, holistic methods were far more beneficial. Since 2000, the vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic. The winery is spread over 9ha in Nothalten, halfway between Strasbourg and Colmar. As well as producing wines with a great expression of terroir, Patrick is fully engaged in building a healthy ecosystem. Instead of mowing between the vines, cover crops are sown to nurture the soil and increase diversity. Heavy machinery is not permitted, thereby protecting the ground from heavy impact. The damaging sprays once used have been replaced by plant-based ‘teas’ or compost teas: a nutrient-rich concoction which is applied to the vines as and when needed.
Hand-picked grapes pressed in whole bunches are the foundation of this sparkling wine. ‘Les bulles d’Emma’ is a blend of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois, aged in the bottle for 18 months sur latte. This is the traditional method of storing Champagne; racking the bottles on wooden slats to maximize cellar space. A wonderful example of Crémant d’Alsace, this dry wine has delicate bubbles which serve as a great aperitif or can be enjoyed with a wide range of seafood.