In South Beaujolais, just North of Lyons, exists Terres Dorees, the iconic estate of Jean-Paul Brun, one of the most respected and revered growers in South Burgundy. Jean-Paul now has approximately 50 hectares of vines in and around the village of Charnay in the southern part of Beaujolais. Brun wants to make “old-style” Beaujolais, as such, his vinification differs from the prevailing practices in the region. At a time when carbonic maceration was becoming popular, Brun preferred to adopt the techniques of his neighbours in Northern Burgundy, de-stemming the grapes. He believes that the charm of Gamay’s fruit is best expressed by the grapes’ indigenous yeasts, rather than by adding industrial yeast.
As one of the few producers in the southern Beaujolais that planted Pinot Noir vines (back in 1989), he also releases a red wine under the Bourgogne appellation (Beaujolais is legally within Burgundy). His 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 cuvee. Selon Jean-Paul Brun, Beaujolais is made to be pleasurable - light, fruity and delicious - not a bloated, doctored mutation.
The region of Beaujolais is the southernmost part of the Burgundy department, sitting to the west of the Saone River. While its reputation has been somewhat tarnished by the thin, insipid juice made by certain mass producers, it nonetheless produces some of the finest and most enjoyable light-bodied wine in the world.