Jean-Paul Dubost

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From his 26 hectares in Lantignié, Brouilly, Moulin-a-Vent, and Morgon, fourth-generation vigneron Jean-Paul Dubost produces wines that combine lusciousness of fruit, mineral rigor, and open-armed friendliness in a way only great Beaujolais can. Jean-Paul assumed control of his family’s holdings in the mid-1990s, gradually steering viticulture toward organic practices, and today all parcels are either farmed fully organically or are in organic conversion. Dubost’s cellar regimen pulls simultaneously from regional tradition and thoughtful low-interventionism: spontaneous fermentations; classic semi-carbonic macerations, with no-destemming employed except for the naturally ultra-structured Moulin-a-Vent; and bottling with extremely low levels of added sulfur dioxide. Rather than conveying an overarching house style, Jean-Paul’s wines articulate with stark clarity their parcels and crus of origin, and the subtle differences he employs in the vinification and elevage of each wine serve only to enhance the transmission of terroir. With Dubost, one feels viscerally the stony snap of Brouilly, the lurking spicy power of Moulin-a-Vent, and the broad generosity of Morgon; and the wines from his home village of Lantignié, which flanks Regnié and Morgon to the west, feel more like great examples of cru Beaujolais than simple villages-level fare.

Beaujolais-Lantignié Rouge: Jean-Paul owns eight hectares of Gamay planted in the yellow granite and blue clay of his home village of Lantignié, in the hills immediately west of Regnié and Morgon. His Beaujolais-Lantignié Rouge, with its dark, sappy red fruit and ample spice, offers much of the complexity of a cru Beaujolais in a far more modestly priced package. Jean-Paul employs a two-week whole-cluster semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel, and the wine is bottled with a bare minimum of sulfur after passing the better part of a year in tank.

Regnié “Le Potet” : Dubost owns three separate parcels in the crumbly grey granite (somewhere between sand and pebbles in consistency) of Le Potet: one 30 years old, one 50, and one nearly 70. Vinified and aged entirely in tank using classic semi-carbonic maceration, this wine combines snappy red fruits with just enough structure and savory minerality to remind one of Beaujolais’ proximity to the Northern Rhône.

Brouilly “Vieilles Vignes” : Dubost’s Brouilly “Vieilles Vignes” is sourced from three parcels of Gamay each over 50 years of age. Fermented whole-cluster with a classic semi-carbonic maceration lasting two weeks, it is vinified and aged in stainless steel, and bottled before the following harvest with a trace amount of sulfur dioxide. This offers open-knit, bright red fruits alongside a cleansing snap of granitic minerality and perky acidity.

Brouilly “Pierreux” : This renowned site in Brouilly, named after the proliferation of stones found in its granite soils, tends to yield wines of intense mineral power and penetrating fruit, and Dubost produces a wine of nearly saline intensity from his old-vines holding here. As with the Brouilly “Vieilles Vignes” above, this is fermented whole-cluster and vinified and aged in stainless steel, but the Pierreux possesses a more deeply chiseled structure which beckons for a few years of bottle aging.

Moulin-a-Vent “En Brenay” : The only wine in his cellar which Jean-Paul de-stems before fermentation, the Moulin-a-Vent “En Brenay” displays broad, powerful fruit, brooding spice, and an inviting savory warmth. This undergoes a four-week semi-carbonic maceration in steel, and is transferred to well-used 500-liter oak barrels for its one-year elevage—a judicious flourish which enhances the wine’s complexity and subtly softens its imposing structure.

Morgon “La Ballofière”: Ballofière is a high-altitude parcel for Morgon, situated at 350-370 meters with a west-to-south exposure and consisting of poor, schistous soil with a small amount of sand. Following a semi-carbonic maceration, Dubost incorporates 15% used demi-muids into the elevage here, with the balance done in tank. The pulpy, gently tannic palate offers darkly spiced fruit and a firm sense of minerality.

Morgon “Côte du Py” : Dubost owns a small parcel of Gamay in the Côte du Py, arguably the most famous vineyard in all of the Beaujolais, and his rendition of this site combines sappy, wide-angle fruit, finely etched minerality, and thrilling intensity in true grand cru fashion. As with the Moulin-a-Vent, this undergoes a four-week maceration in stainless steel, but this is fermented whole-cluster; moreover, it spends two winters aging in well-worn 500-liter casks—a lengthy elevage as befitting a majestic wine.
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