Monday, June 7, 2010
George DuBoeuf Finds His Vintage of a Lifetime
When George DuBoeuf, de facto king of Beaujolais, says he's found his Beaujolais vintage of a lifetime, you tend to listen, even if you are a bit skeptical. After all, he can only get away with saying such a thing once. And who knows more Beaujolais vintages, and knows them intimately, than this eminence grise of the Gamay grape?
Monsieur DuBoeuf and his son Franck said the 2009 vintage was the sunniest in long memory, resulting in very mature grapes upon harvest. Beaujolais Villages, in particular, exceeded their expectations, which a darker-than-usual hue to the wines.
The house of DuBoeuf gave a press preview of their crus recently at ABC Kitchen, and George may be on to something. I have no direct knowledge of all the Beaujolais vintages of the past 50 years, as he does (no old or rich enough), but there's lots to recommend in the 2009s. The Village doesn't objectively blow me away, but it's fine drinking, and, for $9.99, is excellent drinking.
The Fleuries, in particular, impressed me. Fleurie is a more northerly appellation and is known for it's perfumed, silky quality. The DuBoeuf Fleurie had that going on without a doubt. A lovely violet-scented nose. It was tart, tight, more acidic than the other crus, and had a light, fruity, spicy, charcoal taste. As it opened up, however, it grew magnificent. I preferred the Fleurie Domaine de Quarte Vents less. It had a wonderful barnyard nose and was fuller, but had less depth, perhaps because it was remarkably light on the tannins.
I also like the Morgans. Typically for the appellation, it has a way to go before it flowers and opens. But there's a lot of promise there, in both the Domaine de la Chaponne and the Domaine Jean Decombes, particularly the latter, with its restrained character of tart cherry, current and ash.
I suspect that red-wine devotees who usually turn up their nose at light-bodied Beaujolais will find something appealing in these wines.