Jean-Paul Brun 2010 Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay

“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.”
……….. Michael Broadben

To paraphrase Lincoln: A lot of people don’t enjoy a lot of things until they have them prepared well.  And so it is with wine. Back in the day, Chardonnay’s taste of vanilla was developed in oak.  It was, and still is, a great accompaniment to lobster.  People liked it. And to please consumers’ tastes, vineyards seemed to be racing toward producing thicker, oakier Chardonnays.  It really got out of hand and the pendulum swung, of course, to the other extreme.  Then the buzzwords came: “unoaked” and “natural fruit.”  Out went the barrels and into stainless steel went the juice.  And out came a product so acidic, it should have come with a warning label to those with cracked lips.

Jean-Paul Brun makes Chardonnay, and other wine, on his 40 acre estate just North of Lyons in the Beaujolais appellation of Burgundy and in his own way, and it is outstanding. Maybe it’s the location that made him contrarian. Burgundy to the north is more famous, and northern Beaujolais is better regarded than southern Beaujolais. But owner and winemaker Brun makes Beaujolais in a Burgundian (not Beaujolais) style.  He uses indigenous yeasts, and ages his Beaujolais.  He avoids carbonic maceration, which is the custom in Beaujolais. (In carbonic maceration, whole clusters of grapes are fermented in sealed containers prior to crushing.  Carbon dioxide is pumped into the containers, creating an anaerobic environment, and most of the juice is fermented while still inside the berry).  Instead, Brun hand picks and de-stems the clusters before maturation. Stainless steel tanks are laid on their side so that the juice has more contact with the lees, and…

and I’m getting too involved. What’s important is the result. How about BALANCED? How about ELEGANT?  I’m reminded that the best meals are those in which the composition of ingredients comes together in perfect balance to make the sum better than its parts. That is this wine. It is perfectly balanced and elegant. Nothing – no one sense detracts from the whole, or is overpowering.
The nose is crisp and fruity, with just a floral hint. Taste of citrus apricot, hazelnut and pear come through with a finish more like apricot nectar. But this Chardonnay is not syrupy. It is clean and crisp, with a full texture yet light.  Its fullness is balanced by its mineral crispness; a harmony of texture and taste.  It invites repeated sipping and enjoyment.

You could keep this Chardonnay to 2013, but I’m betting that you won’t. I’m betting too that if you have gotten off the Chardonnay see-saw, you will especially appreciate this recommendation of Jean-Paul Brun’s remarkable creation from his limestone soils and Burgundian style Chardonnay. Oh yeah, I forgot: You should be able to find this for about $15. I don’t know how he is able to do this, but I am so thankful that he does.

This is a “Mizer” super recommendation. I give it four glasses!

A votre santé!
………………………… Jim
* Visit for mini-tips on wine & food

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