Beaujolais is possibly one of the world's most underrated wines and deserves so much more attention. Forget 'Beaujolais Nouveau' — this 2010 L'Ancien VV from JP Brun's Domaine des Terres Dorées more than proves the excellence and deliciousness of Beaujolais and the Gamay grape in the hands of a passionate, quality focused producer like Jean-Paul Brun.
This "l'Ancien VV" Beaujolais wine has been a staple in our house and family go-to wine since I first discovered it in 2009. This 2010 is equally delicious. Showing delicate floral notes, it is packed with bright, vibrant berry fruit - think of a medley of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and all sorts of wild berries you can find in the forest.
But it is not just about the fruit. There is a very strong underlying savory, earthy minerality that underpins and grounds the wine. Tannins are supple and ripe, but present enough to provide a sturdy frame. It has an appealing nimble texture and a very juicy mouthfeel. Overall it is a very generous and flavorful wine with good length and smooth finish.
At the Table
What I love about Beaujolais (well, good Beaujolais anyway!) is its freshness, lightness, drinkability and juiciness - important factors at the table. This wine is light-to-medium bodied, so I would pair it with lighter meat dishes such as grilled sweet Italian sausage, blood sausage (boudin noir) a juicy cheeseburger or a simple barbecued duck breast, which is what we served it with a few weeks ago. For the non-meat-eaters out there, it is superb with mushrooms or any kind of charred veggies such as eggplant, asparagus, summer squash and so forth. In a world dominated by powerful, full-bodied reds, L'Ancien VV is a welcome and refreshing change.
About Beaujolais, Domaine des Terres Dorées and L'Ancien VV"
Beaujolais is a French AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlée) area located north of Lyon (and the Rhone Valley). It is technically considered part of Burgundy. However, Beaujolais wines are made from the Gamay grape (not Pinot Noir). Gamay is a fairly thin-skinned variety, hence wines are not terribly dark in color nor very tannic. Within the Beaujolais designation there are a number of different classifications, which range from the often-forgettable nouveau style, to the lively, regional Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages. In addition, there are ten 'cru' or named villages, of which the most well known are Brouilly, Fleurie, Morgan and Saint Amour.
The Domaine des Terres Dorées is so named because of the golden limestone soil in the area. Owner Jean-Paul Brun is one of Beaujolais's most highly regarded producers and his wines are known for their delicacy and finesse. Brun's uses natural yeasts for this wine and vinifies it in a traditional Burgundy manner, rather than using the more typical semi-carbonic maceration method.
2010 Domaine des Terres Dorées, Beaujolais "l'Ancien" VV, Jean-Paul Brun - $17
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
Related: Burgundy Wines: Demystified and Affordable
(Image: Wine Library)