The Domaine des Terres Dorées is located in the Southern Beaujolais, just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the “Region of the Golden Stones.” Jean-Paul Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate. Brun 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 the Gamay’s fruit is best expressed by the grapes’ indigenous yeast, rather than by adding industrial yeast. Brun’s view is that Beaujolais drinks best at a lower degree of alcohol and there is no need to systematically add sugar to the must (chaptalize) to reach alcohol levels of 12 to 13 degrees. So he chaptalizes minimally or not at all - depending on the vintage and the cuvee. His Beaujolais is made to be pleasurable - light, fruity and delicious - not an artificially inflated wine that shines at tasting competitions. Only a minimum amount of SO2 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 being “big.” The emphasis is not on weight, but on fruit. Beaujolais as it once was and as it should be. Brun’s methods – to make Beaujolais from natural yeasts, to not chaptalize, to work at low yields, and to restore the Gamay of the Beaujolais as a light, delicate and silky drink. In 2007, two-thirds of his crop was rejected by the Beaujolais bureaucracy for being “atypical” and he had to bottle as Vin de Table. The wine received 90 points in The Wine Advocate and was adored by Beaujolais lovers all over the world. Go figure. There’s Chardonnay from limestone soils and the Beaujolais l‘Ancien which is the antithesis of major commercial Beaujolais, plus a range of Cru Beaujolais which he has acquired over the past few years. The reds are a traditional Burgundy vinification and the grapes de-stemmed – no carbonic maceration here. Renegade wines for people who like natural Beaujolais.
Link to a good article on JP Brun.
Made from Jean-Paul’s oldest vines, which have fewer berries, smaller grapes, a tighter bunch, and a more concentrated flavor. He is able to harvest the grapes later because there is far less risk of rot, owing to the small bunches. The grapes are harvested late with a high natural sugar level. The wine is vinified using traditional Burgundy techniques.
“Jean-Paul Brun is one of my favorite winemakers in all of France and I have a very healthy respect for how he has managed to go his own, traditional way and make a name for himself (with the help of his importers, of course) here in the states in an epoch where spoofulated wines were the darlings of so much of the wine press. Monsieur Brun’s Cuvée l’Ancien has been a barometer of old school Beaujolais for many years now, with its only hiccup coming when some of the production from a few vintages was bottled under artificial corks and quickly oxidized. But, other than this single episode, one cannot ask for a better every day Beaujolais and the 2010 is exemplary, offering up a deep and classic nose of cherries, cranberries, vinesmoke, a lovely and stylish base of soil and a topnote of fresh herbs. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and intensely flavored, with fine focus and balance, tangy acids and fine grip on the long and pure finish. A lovely bottle in the making. 2012-2020. 89.”
-John Gilman, View From The Cellar, January-February, 2012 – Issue # 37
“Not bottled until May, and weighing in at barely over 12% alcohol (although the labels indicates “12.5%”), Brun’s 2010 Beaujolais L’Ancien Vieilles Vignes is yet again a model of this appellation with its chalky terroir for which the Domaine Terres Dorees is named. Fresh, fragrant, juicy sour cherry, red currant, and red raspberry mingle with chalk, salt, citrus rinds, and fruit pit for a tart, pungent, piquant, yet refreshing, energetic, texturally lithe performance that will be a delight to revisit over the coming couple of years. This had only been in bottle a month when I tasted it and is another Brun 2010 that benefited from aeration. So while it was marginally disappointing in length, I suspect it tastes even better as I transcribe this note than it did when I tasted it. 88+ Points.”
Wine Advocate # 196