Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun)

Terres Dorées is the domaine of Beaujolais icon Jean-Paul Brun.

He is one of the most revered vignerons in this appellation, making wines of great purity and extraordinary flavour. Even his entry level Beaujolais wines are full of interest. 

Jean-Paul now has approximately 50 hectares of vines in and around the village of Charnay in the southern part of Beaujolais. He produces almost 400,000 bottles of wine each year and 55% of his production is sold to overseas importers. He made his first wines in 1977 and has been producing wine every year since and will soon preside over his 40th vintage!

He has always trodden his own path with his winemaking. At a time when carbonic maceration was becoming popular in the Beaujolais Jean-Paul preferred to adopt the techniques of his northern neighbours in Burgundy and to de-stem his grapes.

He also is one of the few producers in the southern Beaujolais that has planted Pinot Noir vines (back in 1989), thus allowing him to release a red wine under the Bourgogne appellation (Beaujolais is legally within Burgundy). However when he makes wine from the Chardonnay grape (he planted his vines in 1983) he bottles it as a Beaujolais Blanc even though he could release it as a Bourgogne Blanc.

If you are new to the wonderful wines of Beaujolais it is useful to know that there are different levels of quality in this area. However, it is important to remember that a great producer such as Jean Paul Brun will produce great wines no matter what level of appellation he adopts.

Much of the wine produced in this region is labelled as 'Beaujolais'. This is for red wine made from the Gamay grape or white wine made from Chardonnay (very little white wine is produced in the Beaujolais region these days).

The next highest level of quality is labelled 'Beaujolais Villages". This is for wine produced in nominated villages that are deemed to produce wine of higher quality.

The best wines of Beaujolais, however, are from the ten 'cru' areas where the finest wines are produced. These are Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin a Vent, Regnie and Saint Amour. Of these, the most venerable is Morgon. Wine produced from these tiny areas do not display Beaujolais on the label, only the name of the cru.

Jean Paul Brun has many plots throughout Beaujolais and so produces wines ranging from the standard Beaujolais through to the revered Morgon.

He doesn't use whole bunch fermentation like many producers in Beaujolais, preferring instead to destem the grapes and subject them to pigeage (pushing down) and maceration takes about two weeks.

Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc Classic 2015

This great-value Chardonnay gets its freshness from natural vinification and no use of oak barrels. The very old vines thrive on limestone soils in Beaujolais. It is a lively, fresh wine that is drinking beautifully right now. The finish is long and clean and the flavour profile is classic southern Beaujolais. This is a wine of some interest as very little white Beaujolais is produced.

There is one other technique that Jean-Paul uses to produce the lovely texture of this wine. He no longer uses high, vertical tanks, but has had a tank made that lies horizontally so that there is closer contact between the wine and the lees at the bottom of the tank.

Here is what Chambers Street Wines in New York had to say recently:

"On the nose luscious green apple fruit mingles with poached pear and citrus zest. The palate does have some weight, but this is a lean, sharp wine with a sturdy mineral backbone. It’s really quite amazing to drink such a precise wine for such a value!"

Also Decanter magazine in the UK recently featured this wine as a "Must Try White" saying in part:

"Abundant white flowers, hints of melon and minerals; the taught, chalky palate has a taste of the soil. Quite serious and worth every penny."

RRP: $32

Terres Dorées Beaujolais Rosé d'Folie 2015

This is the quintessential Jean-Paul Brun wine! And once again there is a stunning label and attractive bottle to enhance the experience.

The Rosé d'Folie is a light pinkish-orange tinted wine that gives raspberry on the palate, an appealing freshness and a nice lingering finish. It is perfect for spring and summer sipping, but as we always say of rosé wines, there is absolutely no reason why they can't be sipped all year round.

This wine was fermented in tanks and has seen no wood at any time, therefore it remains fresh and vibrant and perfect for easy drinking. There has been no carbonic maceration as Jean-Paul prefers Burgundian methods of wine making.

The wine is released under the general Beaujolais Rosé appellation and is therefore principally made from Gamay.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Vin de Pays Roussanne 2014

Roussanne is a classic Rhone grape and this beautiful white is a great example of the attraction of wine made from it. This wine comes from the Beaujolais region where Roussanne is not an authorised grape variety, hence the Vin de Pays appellation on the back label.

This is a beautiful white wine with restrained richness and great mouthfeel. It pairs with many foods.

RRP: $36

Terres Dorées Beaujolais Le Ronsay 2015

The Jean-Paul Brun Le Ronsay is the same wine as the previously-named Cuvée Première. It is released under the Beaujolais appellation and is 100% Gamay. The change in name has come about as Jean-Paul wanted to more closely identify the wine with the Le Ronsay vineyard from which the wine is made.

Jean-Paul do not use the common carbonic maceration technique so widely practiced in Beaujolais, nor does he use the commercial yeast 71B which is also widely used. Instead he uses Burgundian methods of destemming and maceration and the fermentation uses only natural yeasts.

This wine is produced from younger vines (about twenty years old) than the l'Ancien but is still a beautiful wine that is drinking very nicely right now.

This wine was incredibly popular when the previous shipment arrived because it is a beautiful wine at a very, very good price. We don't expect it to last very long.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Beaujolais l'Ancien 2012

(label image below from older vintage)

This is the quintessential Jean-Paul Brun wine! It is a noble Beaujolais with great structure (from the eighty year old vines used to make this wine), great concentration, elegance and enormous appeal, but at a price that is very accessible.

If you are one of those people who were damaged by drinking poor Beaujolais in the past - this is the wine to reinvigorate your interest in the Gamay grape.

The grapes were hand-harvested, placed in small crates and then destemmed before maceration on skins for a short time. It is matured in old barriques and cement tanks. This is a lovely example of the best of the Beaujolais appellation.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Beaujolais l'Ancien Le Buissy 2013

(label image below from older vintage)

The Le Buissy differs from the normal l'Ancien in two distinct ways. First, the grapes are sourced from vines that are seventy years old and which grow on rare limestone terroir which he purchased in 1999. Second the elevage takes place in 5 year old barriques.

The fruits here are not as dark as with, say, the Fleurie, reminding us more of raspberry  and cherry rather than blackberry and plum. There are other elements working here as well, including a beautiful umami-like savouriness and a chalkiness that is evident given that it comes from a rare piece of limestone terroir.

This is a very interesting Gamay.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Côte de Brouilly 2014

The vines for this beautiful wine grow on the south-east facing slopes of Beaujolais known as the Côte de Brouilly where he has two plots of 50 year old vines at around 300 metres above sea level. Jean-Paul has 2 plots here and the vines are over 50 years old. The slopes are covered with blue granitic scree with a high iron content - and the Gamay grape is known to thrive in granitic soils. It exhibits dark berry fruits and lots of minerality.

The Côte de Brouilly is one of the ten cru areas of Beaujolais that produce the highest quality wines.

Here is what a recent Chambers Street Wines newsletter had to say about this cru:

This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe blackberry and raspberry/strawberry fruit aromas with a touch of  violets and earth. The palate is ripe but balanced (at 12.5% alcohol) with black and red fruit liqueur and fresh citrusy acids that linger in the finish. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years.

RRP:  $36

Terres Dorées Morgon 2015

Morgon is considered by many to be the very best area for Beaujolais. This cru is one of the freshest and liveliest wines from this area that we have tasted along with the Lapierre and the Foillard. You will love the cherry fruits in this wine along with the trademark spicy minerality as well as the strong structure that this wine displays.

Of the 2015 vintage, New York’s  Chambers Street Wines newsletter says:

“From one hectare of old vines on sandy soils over decomposed granite ("gorhe") in the lieu-dit "Grand Cras." A high spot with southern exposition, similar to Corcelette but the soil is more porous, and suffers a little from dryness. In 2015 the wine is remarkably elegant and balanced and at 12.5%, not showing the excessive alcohol sometimes found in this vintage. The palate shows lovely deep strawberry/cherry fruit that continues on the long finish - delicious now and will be lovely with three to five years (or more) of aging.”

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Moulin à Vent 2015

The Moulin à Vent from Jean Paul Brun is an elegant beauty that belies its price. There are berry flavours on the palate and a very pleasant savoury finish. The first time we tried this wine we were blown away by both the structure of the wine on the palate and the beautiful, elegant, lively finish.

And here is John Gilman quoted by Chambers Street Wines in New York:

"...may well be the finest wine in his utterly profound portfolio of magical wines from this vintage. The bouquet is deep, pure and classically reserved... the palate is full-bodied, very pure and rock-solid to the core... the finish is very, very long, with ripe, perfectly integrated tannins and stunning grip and balance. Just a glorious young bottle of Moulin-à-Vent!"

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Moulin à Vent Les THorins 2013

This Moulin a Vent comes from a special parcel of vines called Les Thorins which lies very close to the famous windmill that gives this appellation its name. The vines are older and the terroir is considered to be superior to much of the area. Wines from this parcel are well known for their power and concentration. This is a beautifully structured wine with beautiful tannins that will allow it to last for a considerable time.

RRP: $49

Terres Dorées Fleurie 2014

(label image below from older vintage)

This wine is much stronger than the average Fleurie however the berry fruits and cherry fruits are there and the long, lingering, minerally, pure finish is very appealing. This 'cru' Beaujolais is complex, elegant and very drinkable.

Please excuse the wine stains on this label. We got so excited about drinking this lovely wine that we didn't take proper care of the label!

Chambers Street Wines recently quoted John Gilman as saying the following about the 2009 Fleurie:

"The nose is deep, stunning and very sappy, as it soars from the glass in a blaze of black cherries, raw cocoa, pomegranate, intense violets, woodsmoke and plenty of fresh thyme. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, plush and very pure, with great depth of fruit at the core, lovely soil tones, modest tannins and simply superb length and grip on the focused and palate-staining finish."

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Fleurie Grille Midi 2013

(label image below from older vintage)

Grille Midi is regarded as the best 'climat' or plot of land in the Fleurie appellation. It sits in a granite amphitheatre and the name is supposed to have originated from the hot sun that saturates the area at midday in summer.

All of Jean-Paul's Fleurie vines are in the Grille Midi climat, but he reserves this name for wines made from his oldest vines.

This wine displays bright fruit (think blackberries and plums) followed by a very long, lingering finish. This wine is drinking beautifully now but will also last for quite some time due to the structure inherent in this vintage. The wine is matured in concrete tanks rather than old oak barrels.

RRP: $49

Terres Dorées Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2014

This is a Bourgogne appellation wine instead of the more usual Beaujolais from Jean Paul Brun, therefore it is a Pinot Noir rather than Gamay. The grapes come from three small, sun-drenched parcels of vines that were planted over 25 years ago in limestone soils  in the Beaujolais region where plantings of Pinot Noir are permitted.

The wine is matured in old wooden fûts. This is a beautiful drinking wine. It is not often that you will find a quality red Burgundy at this price.

As one writer said recently:

"Outstanding, if one adores lightness, purity and structure".

RRP: $41 for 2014 and $39 for 2015

Terres Dorées FRV 100 2014

This Gamay-based sparkling wine made in the pétillant naturel style is very low in alcohol at only 7.5%. The low-alcohol, however, does not detract from its interesting flavour of berry fruits and minerals coming from the granitic soils.

It is made using the single-ferment Méthode Ancestrale in the style adopted in the nearby Bugey-Cerdon appellation where their vins mousseux are also made primarily from Gamay.

When you pour this lightly petillant wine into the glass you immediately notice the pink hue which is the result of the short time that the red skins have been in contact with the grape juice. It is a perfect aperitif or dessert wine.  It is perfect summer sipping sitting in the garden or looking over the sea. It also teams beautifully with berry desserts such as strawberry soup.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Crémant de Bourgogne Charme JPB Blanc de Blancs

Crémants are sparkling wines made outside the Champagne region of France but in the same style as a Champagne. This is a particularly fine example of the genre being made from Chardonnay. The Crémant has a fine bead, yeasty aromas and a long, dry savoury finish. This is a great substitute for Champagne.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées In Extremis

This gorgeous sweet wine is made by Jean Paul Brun using an Austrian technique for making wine from late harvest grapes. The result is a sweet, yellow, unctuous wine of some complexity.

This wine is sold in 500ml format.

RRP: $60

Terres Dorées Labeur d'Octobre 2006

This fresh, sweet, fruit-driven wine is made from grapes harvested late in the season. It is a sweet wine with 120g of residual sugar. This wine has been aged in old wooden barrels for almost six months.

This wine is sold in 500ml format.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Terres Dorées Marc de Beaujolais

This beautiful Marc is distilled in Jean Paul Brun's village immediately after the grapes have been pressed. The liquor is then aged in new oak barrels to produce this lively, fresh marc with great complexity. At this price it is quite a bargain. Only very small amounts are currently available.

This wine is sold in 700ml format.

RRP: $66