2016 Georges Duboeuf Cru Beaujolais exhibit quality, complexity
Wine is a business of vintages, and that’s especially true in France, where weather can vary widely from year to year. Franck Duboeuf, son of founder Georges, was in New York for a media dinner along with Romain Teyteau, Export Director for the US, to show the 2016 Georges Duboeuf cru Beaujolais vintages, which were overwhelming successful.
Georges Duboeuf was a true innovator when he founded his winery in 1964. His goal was to both respect terroir as well as to continuously seek high quality. Today the wine house continues to embrace quality at the region, village, and single-vineyard level.
The dinner at Benjamin Prime began first with two of the Domaine’s whites from southern Burgundy. The Pouilly-Fuissé 2015 (flower label) was a fresh white with notes of honey, slight creaminess, minerality and lemon. Then we tried a single vineyard wine, Pouilly-Fuissé Emile Beranger 2015. This wine had developed notes of almond, vanilla, and honey while still being crisp and offering lemon on the palate – a slightly savory, complex white. They were well suited to a course of appetizers.
The reds began with the signature wine of the house – Beaujolais Village Flower Label 2016. This light-bodied wine had scents and flavors of strawberries, a pleasing wine on its own or with food. While this is the style of Beaujolais most widely known, this dinner was going to largely highlight the wines of the villages designated to produce cru Beaujolais. These would be far more complex and have flavors never dreamed of in the entry-level Beaujolais wine.
Franck Duboeuf expertly led the tasting in which the high quality wines from designated crus showed the wide range of styles and flavors -- the many moods of Beaujolais.
Domaine de Lafayette Brouilly 2016 – A delicious wine, garnet-colored with a peppery attack and then melting into strawberry compote on the mid-palate with a lingering finish.
Domaine Pontheux 2016 (Chiroubles) – Brighter fruit and more ripe fresh strawberry flavor along with pepper notes, a balanced wine.
Domaine du Riaz 2016 (Cote-de-Brouilly) – A more gentle, rounded wine with more refined spice notes, as well as fresh red fruit flavors and a long finish.
Morgon Flower Label 2016 – This wine from the cru village of Morgon had tart cherry, good acidity, and vivid fresh flavors.
Jean Ernest Descombes 2016 (Morgon) – A more complex offering from a historic Beaujolais grower, this wine was more structured with good acidity, strawberry pie flavors and as well as floral aromas. Its complexity shows the things Beaujolais can do!
Domaine de Javernieres Cote du Py 2016 – This was the richest Morgon we tasted. High acidity along with plush red and black fruit and a long finish made one consider this a Beaujolais that would become more complex with some aging. These vineyards are owned by the Lecoque family, another longtime grower partner with Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Of this wine, Franck Duboeuf said, “It has the fruit of Beaujolais and the charm of Burgundy.”
Fleurie Flower Label 2016 – I enjoyed the crisp, high acid, tart cherry, and good finish of this wine. Like other “Flower Label” wines, these are from vines that are at least 20 years old.
Clos de Quatre Vents 2016 (Fleurie) – Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries – a rich and lovely treat with a long finish. This wine is hand-harvested, undergoes semi-carbonic maceration, and sees no oak, producing a polished, elegant wine.
Chateau des Capitan Julienas 2016 – Rich, dense, and weightier than many of the other cru Beaujolais poured, this wine had a long finish, leaning more towards black fruit flavors and had lively peppery notes. A true testament to the surprising complexity and richness that some Beaujolais can achieve.
Domaine des Rosiers (Moulin-A-Vent) 2016 – I picked up more mineral notes, as well as aromas of roses, and flavors of dark cherries and spice with a long finish. This wine pairs well with big flavored food including beef, game, spicy foods and aged cheese.
The 2016 vintages from these exceptional vineyards were showing beautifully. Cru Beaujolais has gained some recognition but is still available at shockingly reasonable prices for the exceptional quality that can be had. Getting to know which cru Beaujolais appeals most to your own palate is a wonderful way to explore this wine region.