Julie Paolucci & Nicolas Bres – Domaine La Luminaille
Julie Paolucci et Nicolas Bres © A.O.C RASTEAU
“For my father, the vineyards were his life. Now it’s getting to be the same for us!”
There’s light in Julie’s eyes; light reflects from her blonde hair, and a smile lights up the face of this mother-to-be. But most of all, there’s light all around, held within the vines growing on the gentle slopes of Rasteau’s natural amphitheatre – a vivid panorama with Ventoux and Montmirail as its focus.
Many years ago, Julie’s great-great grandparents worked this estate; then her father Jean-Claude expanded and modernised the vineyards, buying a tractor to replace the horses, planting Nyons olives and adding a host of new vines. This is where Julie spent her childhood, basking in the spellbinding light of this incredible place with slopes so steep that some can only be accessed by caterpillar tyres. And yet she chose to leave the area, travelling to Australia to gain a very different experience of wine. She returned to Bordeaux to complete her Master’s degree and qualified as a sommelier. But the confines of a conventional establishment were not for her, no matter how many stars it had; she preferred to work with up-and-coming chefs and a more creative wine list featuring names we know and love today – including Garance and Le Sergent Recruteur. But everything changed with the untimely death of her father. In 2014, Julie left the bright lights of Paris to return home to her Domaine: the grapes were ripe
and needed picking. Tasting wines and recommending them was one thing; producing her own first vintage was a different matter altogether. But Julie had a guardian angel – her knight in shining armour, Nicolas Bres. Because that’s the way things were. Nicolas was born not far from here, in Vaison-la-Romaine. He managed an estate, but was looking out for new opportunities. He knew the land; he’d worked it for years. He knew how fertile the Rhône soils could be, both in Rasteau and the other Rhône Crus. The only unknown quantity was the wine itself, because until now, the grapes had all ended up in the cooperative; but together, Julie and Nicolas started to discover the subtle character of the wines produced from the free-draining grey clay soils to the north of Rasteau. It helped, of course, that 2015 and 2016 were superb years – just what they needed for their first wines. And the names of these new wines? 1er né and 2ème né – 1st and 2nd born – so evocative of their family values. Both are available in red and white; both are easy- drinking, lifted by a fine edge of salinity from the soil. So, a life-changing event for Julie, a chance meeting for Nicolas – but together, the couple are building a future for La Luminaille based on their passion for wine. Julie was due to leave for the Seychelles as sommelier for the Constance Group, while Nicolas had found his paradise isle here in Rasteau, his palace their family home; now they explore new horizons together in the vineyards of the world.
Domaine La Luminaille
Julie Paolucci – Nicolas Bres
696, Chemin la Luminaille
Tél : +33.(0)126.96.36.199.88
Tasting and sale at the Domaine:
Monday to Saturday from 8h to 18h (by appointment)
Access to the Domain by the Village of Rasteau (1km after the Village, map below)
Order wines online with TWIL: Click here