Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien 2020

The Pinot Noir Side of Gamay: 2020 Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien

Year in and year out, Jean-Paul Brun makes one of the most polished and satisfying Beaujolais' out there. I had a bottle last night, and I can report that this is another highly successful vintage for Monsieur Brun. Drinking much more like a Red Burgundy than a simple Beaujolais, this is a wine I go back to time after time, and I am never disappointed.

This wine truly drinks more like Pinot Noir, and there is a good reason for that. Unlike most Beaujolais producers, Jean-Paul chooses to vinify this wine with traditional Burgundian methods instead of the more commonly used carbonic maceration. The result is a much more polished and generous style of Beaujolais. Give it a try, I think you'll be quite impressed. 

Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien

2020 Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien Vieilles Vignes 

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 91 points James Suckling 

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I drink a lot of Beaujolais, but this is the one I drink the most. Why, you ask? Because it tastes a lot like Red Burgundy, my favorite wine on the planet, and I can't afford to drink Red Burgundy on a daily basis. There's a polish and an elegance to Brun's Beaujolais that I find especially attractive.

In case you didn't know, the Gamay grape is a close cousin to Pinot Noir, and Beaujolais is actually part of BurgundyDon't tell the Burgundians I said that, but it's the truth, and they know it. The different flavors that each grape gives can be attributed to the way they are vinified. Gamay from Beaujolais is most often fermented using a technique known as carbonic maceration, which yields charming, fruity, spicy, and low tannin wines. Click here for more details on that process.

Jean-Paul makes his wines more traditionally, picking his grapes, de-stemming them, crushing them, and letting the juice and skin hang out together for a bit. This is the Burgundian method I referred to earlier, and it yields a more "serious" wine with more structure and depth. Remember, this is just my opinion, and I adore carbonic macerated wines! For me though, Jean-Paul's L'Ancien Beaujolais never fails me.

Who is Jean-Paul Brun and what's he all about? He is a fiercely passionate and individualistic vigneron with holdings in Charnay, in the southern reaches of Beaujolais, just north of Lyon. He farms organically, he ferments with native yeasts, he never chapitalizes (adds sugar to boost alcohol), and he bottles with minimal sulfites. His wines could easily fit into the "natural wine" scheme of things, because that is what they are, but he opts not to be pigeonholed. His wines speak for themselves.

They speak with a loud voice, as Monsieur Brun is looking to deliver you the truest and purest expression of Gamay. He succeeds every year, and Vintage 2020 is another stellar L'Ancien. Produced with his oldest vines, thus the name, these stressed vines produce thick skinned grapes that yield full-flavored yet elegant wines. 

Medium bodied, silky, and flowing with ripe cherry, raspberry, earth, and spice notes, this could easily be mistaken for a high quality Bourgogne. There is just so much to like here, and with cooler fall evenings and roasted poultry and root veggies not too far way, I highly recommend you preemptively stock up on this one. 

Just in case you're not sold yet, here's what some of the critics had to say:

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2020 Beaujolais l’Ancien soars from the glass with scents of cherries, red fruit compote and plums. Medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy, it's rich and enveloping, with succulent acids and an expansive finish. More gourmand than its 2019 counterpart, it's a dramatic, appealing wine that's already drinking well."

James Suckling: "This wine is way more than you expect from basic Beaujolais, with generous red-berry and cherry fruit, plus positive, supple tannins and crisp acidity that together make this taste much lighter than you expect for 13.5% alcohol. Good length, too! Drink now."

Drinking beautifully right now, I have had examples of this wine with 3 to 5 years of age on them, and they are even better.....and more Burgundian. Your call totally, but I'd get a six-pack if I were you :)

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Josh Spurling
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville