In 1969, Jean Dutraive purchased Domaine de la Grand’Cour in Fleurie. Nine hectares in three outstanding terroirs — Grand’Cour, Chapelle de Bois, and Champagne — plus 1-6 hectares in Brouilly. His son, Jean-Louis, took over in 1989. Since then, the domaine has become a benchmark for great cru Beaujolais.

Jean-Louis practices what he calls “high-surveillance” winemaking. Certified organic farming and hand harvesting, whole cluster carbonic fermentation with no sulfur and native yeasts. The wine is left on the skins for 15-30 days to macerate and gravity-fed to the cellar for aging for 6-15 months, depending on the cuvée. Elevage is mostly in old Burgundy barrels, with some old foudré or cement.

He’s known throughout the region for his impeccable winemaking, for always showing up to apéro with saucisson in hand, and for his neighborly attitude; he’s become a mentor for younger generations of Beaujolais winemakers looking to work more naturally.

His wines have a Burgundian silhouette, alternately floral and spicy or earthy and fruit-driven. It fits that he was the first Beaujolais winemaker to be invited to la Paulée, the world's premier Burgundy event. Like great Burgundy, you can age Jean-Louis’s wines for years…if you’re into delayed gratification. Honestly, it’s hard to keep our hands off them. These are amazing wines to open for friends and family — absolute knockouts at the table.

If you see Domaine de la Grand’Cour or the family’s negociant label, Famille Dutraive, grab a few bottles while you can!


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