Domaine des Terres Doreesby Jean-Paul Brun
APPELLATION: AOC Beaujolais Blanc
Jean-Paul Brun started Terres Dorées in 1979 with a mere 4 hectares of vines in Charnay in the southern Beaujolais, an area which is slightly warmer and more limestone-driven versus the more renowned granite-rich cru villages in the northern Beaujolais. Today, the Charnay estate is around 30 acres, but with an additional 15 hectares farmed in the crus. The farming in Charnay is organic and includes working of the soils; the cru parcels are farmed sustainably and the soils are not worked. Harvest is by hand and of well-ripened but not over-ripened fruit, so alcohol levels are generally modest.
Annual Terres Dorées production is around 350,000 bottles, 85-90% of it from estate fruit with the rest of it sourced. From the beginning, Jean-Paul carved a different path for himself in Beaujolais. Not only does he not chaptalize (common practice here), he has also always eschewed the relatively modern technique of carbonic maceration, in favor of traditional Burgundian vinification. He believes the fruit is best expressed by the grapes’ indigenous yeasts, rather than by adding industrial yeast. Brun’s view is that Beaujolais drinks best at a lower degree of alcohol and that there is no need to add sugar.
Beaujolais is a known for its thin skin, low-tannin Gamay grape, which is used for making light- to medium-bodied red wines with high acidity and versatile food pairing. This grape accounts for nearly 98% of the region’s plantings, and most of the remainder is Chardonnay.
The region is administratively considered part of Burgundy, but its wine character is sufficiently distinct. The climate of Beaujolais is semi-continental and slightly temperate. The Mediterranean Sea influences its climate, and is generally warmer than Burgundy. Beaujolais is large wine-producing region—in fact, larger than any single district of Burgundy. Most of the wines are produced using carbonic maceration, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment before crushing. This technique allows most of the juice to ferment while it is still inside the grape.
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