Julien Altaber planned to be a dairy farmer and dreamed of returning to his birthplace, Auvergne, to breed cows with his uncle. Attending agricultural school in Mâconnais however, where Julien grew up, had a life-changing impact. Influenced by their location, the Burgundian agriculture schools lean heavily towards wine and before he knew it, Julien was attending his first harvest, a harvest which led to one outcome: wine is surely better than milk! In 2001, Catherine and Dominique Derain took Julien under their wing and it was there in Saint Aubin, in 2007, that Sextant was born with the purchase of grapes headed for a large négociant. Reluctant to see these grapes lost in a blend, Julien sprang to the rescue and created his very first wine. Today, Julien and his partner, Carole, have taken over Domaine Derain and run it side by side with Sextant, farming the Derain vineyards with cover crops and little tillage, and purchasing organic grapes for Sextant.
This year the couple went a step further with a sparkling Aligoté. The grapes were picked in early September from vineyards in Côte Chalonnaise and left on the skins for eleven days. Filled without filtration or sulphites but with enough residual sugar to start a spontaneous fermentation in the bottle, creating the delicate bubbles of a pet nat. As luck would have it, oysters are in season right now and they pair perfectly with this wine! It has a herbal, stone-fruit nose with a touch of vanilla, followed by unripe peach, thyme, and a slight saltiness that elevates any seafood.