Yes, I know that is a bold statement, but year in and year out, this wine consistently amazes me. The newly released 2014 Jean-Paul Brun “Terres Dorees” Beaujolais Blanc is again (imho) the greatest Chardonnay value in the world. Made with grapes from vineyards located in Charnay in the southern part of Beaujolais, Jean-Paul works with vineyards that are over 80 years old, and these old vines yield a luscious, beautifully textured, golden fruited Chardonnay. Great Britain’s Decanter rated the wine 95 points and The Wine Advocate said this wine “offers sensational value and a distinctively delicious personality such as you won’t find in 98% or more Chardonnays grown anywhere in the world.” You are probably guessing that this is going to run you well over $30 right? Nope, it’s less than $20 every day!
Jean-Paul Brun is the man behind Domaine des Terres Dorees, and I am a huge fan of everything he makes (give his Beaujolais Rouge “L’Ancien” a shot too). He farms organically and in addition to his own vineyards, he purchases fruit from other organic growers scattered throughout the region. What makes this wine so special in addition to the age of the vines is the fact that the vines are all planted in limestone rich soils, the same type of “dirt” responsible for some of the greatest wines in the world. What makes limestone so special in terms of wine is that it retains moisture in dry weather, but also offers good drainage in cooler weather, and vines thrive in this sort of situation.
With this pristine old vine fruit, Jean-Paul chooses to ferment entirely in stainless steel to preserve the natural richness and purity that old vines provide. Trust me, you won’t miss the oak on this one because it’s much richer, layered and textured than most unoaked Chardonnay. The nose is classic French Chardonnay in the form of pure apple, pear and lemon with some apricot and honeydew sneaking in there too. And mineral, oh yeah, this one’s got some serious mineral that comes through in the form of scents and flavors of wet rock and oyster shell. This might sound gross to some of you, but trust us, it’s aromas like these that people pay hundreds of dollars for and it’s quite subtle. On the palate, this one has great weight, texture and balance with a nice mix of round orchard fruits balanced by tangy and tart citrus, finishing with a complex melange of white flowers, gentle spice, and mineral.