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Wine Camp: Publishing online since 2003 - as always, a points-free zone
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    « The Red Wine District? | Main | Death Wish »

    Tiny Dancer - WBW #22

    It was haunting. Mysteriously darting here and there while all my senses reached hungrily out for each nuance,wbwlogo_6.jpg chasing them like glints of light radiating from a gem. A cloud of delicate sensations ran through my brain then lofted away. Nothing overwhelmed me, but its teasing, tempting and almost impish personality became addicting. I found myself coming back to it night after night as there was something so compelling about its vulnerable, yet soaring complexity. Like a seemingly weightless ballet dancer, every move floated through my senses.

    There’s a pretty good chance you’ll hate it, or won’t get it, but I find myself pulling the cork from a bottle of this wine several times a week because I have found few wines so satisfying at the dinner table.

    terresdorees_small1.jpgThe wine: 2004 Beaujolais, L’Ancien, Vielles Vignes, Terres Dorees from Jean-Paul Brun. Just writing about this wine makes me salivate.

    It’s not big. It’s not powerful. It’s not pointy. It is simply delicious. No juicy-fruity Duboeuf here, but a wine with a strangely powerful delicacy. The bouquet entices not attacks and on the palate it dances, challenging your palate to follow its lead - if you have the time and inclination. Considering the under $15 price tag, a wine that can lead your senses in so many directions is a staggering bargain.

    Never passing 12% alcohol and produced without manipulation, the delicacy of such a wine is sure to disappoint palates trained on the hyper-extracted and manipulated wines of today, but if you are getting a little bored with indistinguishable wines from unidentifiable places, maybe, just maybe, you can open your palate and mind to something new. Actually, it’s not new; it’s very, very old. We all just forgot.

    Beaujolais , L’Ancien, Vielles Vignes, Terres Dorees is imported by Louis/Dressner

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    Below are the comments from the Louis/Dressner Website on this wine:

    The Domaine des Terres Dorées is located in Charnay, a village 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.

    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. So he chaptalizes minimally or not at all — depending on the vintage and the cuvée. 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.”
    June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Camp
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