Cru Beaujolais

It’s time some time to learn about the unhyped Crus


Every year about this time the Beaujolais hype machine kicks into high gear getting us all ready for the latest and greatest vintage of Nouveau. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy a glass of nouveau now and again and they do make for a perfectly fine pairing with Thanksgiving meals, but in all honesty I wish they were released in the late spring when my diet is filled with lighter, fresher fare best suited to these simple and fresh wines.

The nouveau machine also tends to divert attention away from the more serious side of Beaujolais; the crus. I have written fairly extensively about the crus in Exploring the Beaujolais Region and thought this might be a fine time to revisit the topic and discuss the current vintages while we’re at it. In front of me I have 9 bottlings from Georges Duboeuf, all 2011s. It’s not even the current vintage you say? In fact it is not. I am running a vintage behind but one point I would like to make by tasting these wines now is that quality Beaujolais, unlike nouveau, has a life that extends beyond the new year. Especially in a vintage like 2011 which is arguably the finest vintage the region has enjoyed in well over a decade with wines that are zesty and ripe, perfectly balanced with pure fruit suspended on an elegant framework that promises to age very well indeed. 

That was a little extreme,  back-handing nouveau like that. Good nouveau lasts well through the spring following production, even longer in exceptional cases, but your everyday Beaujolais, from village right through the most age worthy Crus improves with a year or three in the bottle and often is at peak 5 year or further from the vintage. Of course cru, producer and vintage matter, but much of the wine drinking public dismisses Beaujolais based on their experiences with its most widely available ambassador, and as is often the case, a wrong impression is the result.
I am not advocating for Duboeuf here, though they were kind enough to supply the wine for this tasting. The fact that I have so many crus from the same vintage and subjected to much the same viticulture and winemaking should offer valuable insight into the terroir available from each site. That, along with a healthy respect for the ability of quality beaujolais to age and improve in the glass is what I hope to share with you today. 
Beaujolais is a lovely and important wine whose brand has been cheapened by the nouveau phenomenon, which one day served a vital purpose keeping even small producers afloat. Today it’s time to start taking Beaujolais more seriously and offering it the respect we offer every other world class wine. Buy them, cellar them, drink them, and share them. that is what fine wine is all about!

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2011 Beaujolais of Duboeuf tasted 10/13

Georges Duboeuf Gamay Beaujolais Nouveau (2011)
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Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles (2011)
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Georges Duboeuf Fleurie (2011)
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Georges Duboeuf Moulin-À-Vent (2011)
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Domaine Mont Chavy Morgon (2011)
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  • I agree with the assessments as to relative points given, but the tasting notes are a huge turn off. Were I to read these blind, I would not buy a single wine. Might as well read, " Essence of aglet, with hints of 1943 pennies, has the washed colour of week old mangosteen. " These kind of tasting notes reminds me of Durian fruit. Loved by all who love it, unappreciated by passengers.

    Nov 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

  • I would have to agree with passatoutgrains The thought of bloody meat sent me off!

    Nov 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,003

    Never thought of myself as a Durian lover (been to Thailand where all the hotels have signs saying you can't open Durian fruit in the hotel--smells horrid), but I guess I am. I find the notes useful--floral, licorice, mushrooms, beets, I don't like all of those but I know what they mean. Of course, sitting next to GdP and observing some of the same things on occasion (albeit a small fraction of them) predisposes me to understand what he's on about. That said, I'm not a huge Beaujolais fan--seems like this is Greg's choice of light fruity wine, while mine runs toward Grenache. But it's a crowd pleaser with turkey, to be sure.
    And it's not at all bad that Duboeuf is the vendor. That's what most people will have access to, and it's affordable. As "supermarket" wines go, they do a nice job. Asimov reviewed T-Day wines today and good luck getting half of them outside NYC or SF.

    Nov 20, 2013 at 5:31 PM

  • Snooth User: JonDerry
    Hand of Snooth
    680446 3,110

    Have heard great things about the '11 Lapierre Morgon, looking forward to trying one soon.

    Nov 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

  • The french wine is a good way to learn french. Welcome to taste our wine and our language

    Nov 25, 2013 at 6:21 AM

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