Winemaker JULIEN FAYARD
Wine Spectrum honors Julien Fayard as Winemaker of the Year. Known as a Frenchman, “terroir whisperer,” 100PT winemaker, winery owner and avid surfer—Fayard is one of Napa Valley’s most respected consulting winemakers with two decades of winemaking experience. Two-time honoree Fayard was also awarded 2016’s Winemaker of the Year. The quality, consistency and breadth of wines Fayard crafts, made him a stand out once again this year. He’s considered a ‘master blender’ and continues to show his winemaking prowess through his own labels: Julien Fayard, JustPink! and Covert Estate. Fayard is also the consulting winemaker for approximately 20 different brands including the highly-rated Le Pich and Purlieu wines.
“We’re excited to honor Julien Fayard as 2021’s Winemaker of the Year. Julien’s wines are highly sought-after and a pleasure to taste.”
—Glenn Siegel, President & Founder Wine Spectrum
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French Sensibility in Napa
Originally from France, Fayard began his winemaking career producing quality rosé at his family’s winery in Provence. He worked at some of Bordeaux’s most noble wineries including Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Laffite before relocating to Napa Valley. In Napa, he became Philippe Melka’s director of winemaking for eight years before launching his own projects—Fayard Winemaking and Covert Estate in Coombsville. Fayard built his reputation by making other people’s wines. He’s been the winemaker of record for more than 20 premier Napa wines including Purlieu, Brion and Covert, to name a few (he’s a partner in that last).
Until recently, Fayard has never had his name on a front label. With his namesake label Julien Fayard—he’s producing wines that are more about purity and a personal and emotional connection. Fayard likens launching his own label to an artist signing a piece of artwork—there’s a little more risk of exposure involved. “It’s clear you are proud of what’s in the bottle,” he says. “At the same time, you’re opening yourself to people’s scrutiny with your name directly attached to the wine.”
Winemaking Done in The Vineyard
The vineyards Fayard sources from are based on personal relationships with farmers who understand what he’s trying to do and are aligned with the vision. Fayard is known to coax the best out of the vineyards’ terroir. His wines are a pure expression of their terroir—highlighting the specificities and characteristics of the fruit, vineyard management, soil and climate.
The average winemaker in Napa is working with 50-100 lots, but as a consulting winemaker, Fayard can be working with as many as 500 lots in a year! The exposure to these different vineyard sites gives Fayard a depth of knowledge accelerating his understanding of the nuances in the area.
In the crowded field of Napa Valley winemakers, Fayard continues to hone his craft delivering wines with texture, depth, elegance and finesse.