Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais L'Ancien Vielles Vignes 2008
Gamay from Beaujolais, France
This wine is produced from Jean-Paul's oldest vines, which have fewer, smaller grapes with 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 very ripe and have a high natural sugar level. The wine is vinified in traditional Burgundy methods. Ancien is a deeply colored wine with a bouquet of red fruit and very soft tannins. It can be drunk relatively young but is probably best at 2 to 3 years old. This is a wine well balanced with natural sugar and acidity.
The Wine Advocate - "High-toned cherry, kirsch distillate and cherry pit all typical of Gamay on Southern Beaujolais's chalk-clay soils mark the nose of Brun’s 2008 Beaujolais L'Ancien Vieilles Vignes. A pure, bright, refreshing palate suffused with suggestions of chalk and salt and with its cyanic bitterness invigoratingly woven into its carpet of bright fruit, this finishes with riveting purity and rapier intensity, if not complexity. This will be worth following for at least 2-3 years.The 2005 – which I tasted again side by side the 2008 – is superb now. "
Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Winery
The Domaine des Terres Dorees is located in the Southern Beaujolais, just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the "Region of Golden Stones." Jean-Paul Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and has attracted the attention of the French and American press for the wonderfully fruity and delicate wines he produces. View all Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Wines
Upon hearing Beaujolais, many think of the large celebration for wine that comes out the 3rd week of November, that year's vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau. But the region of Beaujolais, situated at the bottom of the Burgundy AC, is more than just the nouveau. Some Beaujolais wines can be kept (gasp!) for up to 10 years! Those are usually the Cru Beaujolais and are much lower in production than the drink-it-now.
Even though Beaujolais is technically part of Burgundy, its climate, soil, grape varieties and winemaking methods make it completely separate in character. The primary grape of Beaujolais is Gamay, a very thin-skinned, light bodied grape that does particularly well in Beaujolais. It also does particularly well with the method of winemaking in Beaujolais – Carbonic Maceration. Carbonic maceration is anaerobic fermentation – meaning the fermentation takes place INSIDE the berry. How does this happen? Whole grape clusters are carefully put into a tank, given carbon dioxide and sealed to prevent contact with oxygen. Then a chemical process occurs inside the grape, turning sugars in to ethanol, aka alcohol. The process allows the fermenting juice to extract the color of the skins and the fruitiness of the grape without the harsh tannins of the skins. Not all Beaujolais use this method, but almost every Beaujolais Nouveau does. The result is a very fruity wine with fresh berry favors and super-light tannins and body.
The ACs of Beaujolais
Over half of the production of Beaujolais is under the Beaujolais AC. The second level is Beaujolais-Village, and the final is Beaujolais Crus, of which there are ten. Beaujolais Villages AC is a bit better quality than the first level, and the ten Crus are even higher quality. Most Cru Beaujolais AC wines use regular fermentation rather than carbonic, and some even let their wines age a bit in oak. In fact, after a few years in oak and bottle, a good vintage of Beaujolais can be mistaken for a Burgundy! But this is the exception to the rule - the majority of Beaujolais should be drunk within the first 2 years. In a good vintage a few of the cru wines may hold up for more, but Beaujolais is known for being fruity, light and easy drinking for right now. Serve a bit cool and enjoy without thought.
The 10 Cru Beaujolais to look for: Morgon, St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Brouilly, Côte-du-Brouilly, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Regnié.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.