Crus of Beaujolais, Year 2011
(this self-rant doesn’t belong to this blog post, but I have to let it out of the system. I don’t understand how this works – this post was supposed to be out more than a month ago – the event was great, and the content was very clear in my head – nevertheless, it took soooo long to actually write it. Sometimes, the road from the head to the
paper medium is all so twisty, not straight at all. The things are not what they appear… But I think we can proceed now.)
When you hear the word “Beaujolais”, what is the first thing which comes to mind? Beaujolais Noveau? Yes, me too. At the same time, Beaujolais is a large wine producing region, in area much bigger than Burgundy which it is technically considered to be a part of. And of course there is a lot more wine produced in the Beaujolais region than just a Beaujolais Noveau, a celebratory wine of a new vintage.
At the beginning of June, I was lucky enough to be invited for the tasting of the 2011 portfolio of wines of Georges Deboeuf. Georges Deboeuf is one of the largest and well-known wine merchants in France. He is credited with literally single-handily creating the Beaujolais Noveau phenomenon and often is called the “King of Beaujolais”. I also think that his success with Beaujolais Noveau, both wine and celebration of the new vintage with pleasant but very simple grapey wine, appearing in the stores all over the world always on the third Thursday in November, is also an enemy of serious Beaujolais wines, which can be absolutely fantastic – but this can be a subject for a whole different post, so let’s talk about the portfolio tasting of 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais wines.
No, wait. Before we talk about the wines presented in the tasting, let’s take a quick look at Beaujolais wine region. Beaujolais region is located to the south of Burgundy. Red wines constitute absolute majority of wine production in Beaujolais, and Gamay is pretty much the only grape used in the production of that red wine (with small plantings of Pinot Noir been phased out little by little). White wines are produced from Chardonnay with Aligote been also allowed, but overall production of white wines is miniscule. Three levels of wines are produced in Beaujolais – Beaujolais, which allows usage of the grapes from the whole appellation – these wine should generally be avoided; Beaujolais-Villages, which are better quality wines, and so called Cru wines (top level). There are 10 Crus in Beaujolais – Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour. In general, Beaujolais wines are considered simple and easy (and thus work well with wide variety of food), and also have lesser aging potential than, for instance, the wines of neighboring Burgundy (however aging is usually defined by the talent of winemaker more than anything else). Now that you know all the theory of the Beaujolais wines, let’s talk about tasting.
The tasting was organized by CRT/Tanaka and I would like to thank Caroline Helper (@ForgetBurgundy) for invitation. The tasting took place at DB Bistro Moderne in Manhattan, and it was split into two parts – self-guided tasting of 12 different newly released wines from Georges Duboeuf portfolio (some wines on the list were denoted as barrel samples, as they were just bottled a week before the event), following by organized lunch. Little bites of food were served during the self-guided tasting, and I had an opportunity to try a famous Daniel Burger (with foie gras inside!) – and it was absolutely delicious.
Here I will share with you my notes from the self-guided tasting – description of the lunch, where both Georges and Frank Duboeuf presented their wines, will make up a separate post (ahh, I hope it will not take me another month to write it!). Of course I can’t leave you with just notes, so you will also see some pictures.
2010 Georges Duboeuf Macon-Villages, Maconnaise, France (100% Chardonnay, SRP: $12.99, 13% ABV) – Crisp acidity, interestingly nutty nose, hint of green apple, very mineral on the palate, with hint of limestone (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuisse, Maconnais, France (100% Chardonnay, SRP: $19.99, 13% ABV) – green notes on the nose, lime zest, light, effervescent and crisp on the palate, with a hint of tropical fruit, very refreshing (Drinkability: 8- )
2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $9.99, 12.5% ABV) – Fresh fruit nose, very tannic, more fruit and tannins on the palate, with tannins literally reaching Barolo levels. Needs time and may be different temperature (Drinkability: 6 at the moment, but this wine needs to be reassessed)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $13.99, 13% ABV) – plums, acidity out of balance, tamed red fruit on the nose, tannins on the second taste (Drinkability: 6+)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Brouilly, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $14.99, 13% ABV) – tart cherries on the nose and palate, more balance than the previous wine, but still lacking a bit (Drinkability: 7- )
2011 Georges Duboeuf Brouilly Chateau de Nervers, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $15.99, 12.5% ABV) – closed, not balanced, all over the place – fruit, acidity, tannins are not harmonious (Drinkability: 6+)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Morgon, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $14.99, 13% ABV) – very nice nose with open fruit, too dry on the palate, very tannic, needs more fruit (Drinkability: 7- )
2011 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $15.99, 13% ABV) – good fruit, ghood acidity, reasonably balanced (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie Domaine des Quatre Vents Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $18.99, 13% ABV) – very nice! Round fruit on the nose and the palate, very good balance (Drinkability: 8- )
2011 Georges Duboeuf Julienas, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $14.99, 13% ABV) – pleasant nose, good acidity, but fruit is closed (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $15.99, 13% ABV)- fresh fruit on the nose, lacks substance on the palate, needs more power – this wine is red like white (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent Domaine des Rosiers, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $17.99, 13% ABV) – very nice, beautiful color, good fruit on the nose, hint of minerality and spices, good red fruit, plums and raspberries on the palate. Best of tasting. (Drinkability: 8- )
In the end of the day, all the wines were showing very well, and if you think about QPR, all the wines were great values. Make no mistake – some of these wines are in a very limited production (especially all the Domaine-denoted wines), so you will need to make an effort to find them. But – it worth the reward!
That’s all for my first part of the report, folks. Until the next time – cheers!