I was stuck trying to figure out what should be this week’s choice before two things occurred. The first was reading a touching tribute by Jules Dressner on the one year anniversary of his father’s death. For those who don’t know, Joe Dressner was, along with his wife Denise Louis, the founder of what was to become America’s most revered importing company of natural wines. Jules invited many of Joe’s friends and business associates to pen their remembrances of him on the company blog and it’s a great read.
Go here for the story.
I was by no means a close friend of his but I did know him and admired him greatly for his selections and more importantly, his principles. In an industry largely driven by the latest gimmicks and marketing promotions, Joe stayed true to his growers and his beliefs about what wine should be all about (here
). He was also one of the funniest guys in the biz, skewering friend and foe alike with a scathing wit. I knew the kind side of him; bringing me the latest Turkish cigarettes he would obtain in New York, smoking them outside the store with me on his all-too infrequent visits, counseling me on how to cope with heart disease, which we later both developed (probably from the Turkish smokes), and the love that was apparent for the growers he represented.
The second sign was when my wife obliviously ordered a glass of this with our dinner the same evening. That was it; my mind was made up for me. Jean-Paul Brun was one of Joe’s first guys and he still makes a chardonnay like no other. Some say it tastes more like a wine from Alsace than a chard-no matter.
In a nutshell: this is from the southern, warmer area of Beaujolais where the grapes grown in limestone and clay soil are left to fully ripen like the top wines of Pouilly-Fuisse. The vinification and aging is all in stainless steel and only a tiny bit of SO2 is added at bottling to help preserve the rich, minerally concentration of apples, flowers, and a hint of wheat toast. That this much soulful succulence can cost less than many generic wines out there that don’t even come from real wineries shows what you can unearth for yourself with a little bit of investigation: simply look for the name “Louis/Dressner” on the back label.