Domaine Des Terres Dorées Beaujolais 'Le Ronsay'
Regular price $22.00
Winemaker: Jean Paul Brun
Appellation: Beaujolais, France
Grape Variety: Gamay
100% Gamay. L'Ancien comes from Jean Paul's oldest vines--hence the name of the wine--in his home village of Charnay in the southern Beaujolais. They range in age from 40 to 60 years old and are planted on slopes sporting the area's signature sandy clay-limestone soils, featuring the particular local "dorée" or "golden" limestone that is laden with iron. These older vines have always been farmed organically and harvested by hand and yield small, thick-skinned Gamay berries. As for all Terres Dorées reds, the vinification is traditional Burgundian. The grapes are rigorously sorted and destemmed, crushed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats. The wine is aged in concrete until May-June after the vintage.
Jean Paul Brun is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais just north of Lyon, in a beautiful area known as the "Terres Dorées" or Region of Golden Stones. Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 60+ hectare family estate and has attracted the attention of the French and American press for the wonderfully fruity and delicate wines he produces.
Brun wants to make "old-style" Beaujolais and his vinification differs from the prevailing practices in the region. He believes that the charm of Gamay's fruit is best expressed by the grapes' indigenous yeasts, rather than by adding industrial yeast. Virtually all Beaujolais is now made by adding a particular yeast during fermentation. Known as 71B, this yeast is a laboratory product made in Holland from a tomato base, which imparts wines with banana and candy aromas. It produces a beverage, but with no authenticity and little charm. Brun, on the other hand, wants to make a pure Gamay wine.
Brun's view is that Beaujolais drinks best at a lower degree of alcohol and that there is no need to systematically add sugar to the must (chaptalize) to reach alcohol levels of 12 to 13 degrees. His Beaujolais is made to be pleasurable - light, fruity and delicious - not an artificially inflated wine that shines at tasting competitions.
Only a minimal amount of S02 is used at bottling to keep the wine fresh and "headache-free". Fermentation naturally produces a lot of CO2, which acts as protection against oxidation during aging; leaving some in the wine at bottling time also helps to keep it fresh. Filtration is also minimal so that the wine keeps its original fruit and aromas. Brun’s wines are not ‘blockbusters’ in the sense of ‘big.’ The emphasis is not on weight, but on fruit: Beaujolais as it once was and as it should be.
Brun’s Nouveaus were rated as the top Nouveau of the vintage by France’s Gault Millau magazine several years in a row. Robert Parker has rated Brun as a four-star producer (the only other Beaujolais producers with four stars are in the Crus) and has written about his wines:
“Proprietor Brun is a believer in using only the vineyard’s wild yeast, rather than the synthetic yeasts used by most other producers. His beautiful wines are favorites among purists.”
Starting with just four hectares of vines, Jean-Paul has truly created a self-made empire. After progressively expanding around his native Charnay in the southern Beaujolais, he began experimenting with a Cerdon-like sparkling wine called "FRV100" and a Crémant de Bourgogne, then planted some Pinot Noir and Roussanne on his clay and limestone soils and eventually started bottling those as well.
In the mid 2000's, Jean-Paul set out to conquer Beaujolais' crus. He currently owns land and produces from most of them, including the most recent addition of single vineyard cuvées. All told, he now produces well over 20 different wines from over 60 hectares of vines and shows no sign of slowing down.