When I started this blog just over seven years ago, I had already been ankle-deep in the wine world. I had met many winemakers, a few of them on the “rockstar” level. I am not the star-struck kinda guy though—in fact, despite meeting a few luminaries over the years (Robin Williams, Madonna, Bonnie Raitt, George Lucas, Steve Martin, Helen Mirren—how’s that for a little name dropping?), I do not get all that excited about meeting famous people.
A couple of years ago, however, there was an exception: I met Georges Dubœuf. I am not certain, but I doubt there has ever been an individual that is as singularly identified with a wine region than Georges Dubœuf is with Beaujolais. Often referred to as either le roi de Beaujolais, or even the le pape de Beaujolais (the king or pope of Beaujolais), Georges is often credited with the rising popularity of the wines of the region.
So when I was asked if I would like to sample some Dubœuf wines, I readily agreed.
There is little dispute that Georges Dubœuf is almost solely responsible for the popularity of Beaujolais Nouveau, the wines that are released on the third Thursday of November following the harvest. The wines are made via carbonic maceration where the fermentation is allowed to occur in each individual berry before they are crushed. This results in a fruity, low-tannin wine that is meant to be consumed during the first six months or so following release.
2018 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé: Retail $14. 100% Gamay. As far as I could ascertain, this is the first vintage of Nouveau Rosé from Dubœuf, and it is delightful. Fruity and luscious with strawberry and watermelon on the nose, quite lovely. On the palate, that fruit is at the front and scrumptious with plenty of acidity, and a longer finish than I expected. This is fantastic and checks all the rosé boxes. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2018 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau: Retail $12. 100% Gamay. The thought of reviewing a Beaujolais Nouveau is a bit anathema to me as the genre is not intended to be savored nor contemplated, but rather celebratory and consumed quickly (ideally with friends). Still, I have this iconic bottle before me (Georges DuBœuf practically revitalized the region’s wine industry by himself with his brilliant marketing strategy for Nouveau), and I have nothing better to do (actually, that is a lie, but when M. Dubœuf asks you to review his wine, you do so gleefully). This wine is precisely what I you want in a nouveau: flowery bottle, deep crimson color, fruity (blackberry and plum) nose, and a fun, fruit-driven palate. This is not a wine to break out on a special occasion, it is not a wine to hold onto and cherish. It is a wine for a Monday night while watching football, or a Wednesday afternoon while struggling to put up the seasonal lights. And to celebrate the first wine of the vintage. Fun, fruity, fantastic—no score for this one folks, just go buy a bottle, pop it tonight, and have a blast.
2018 Georges Dubœuf Beaujoalis-Villages Nouveau: Retail $16. 100% Gamay. While the standard Beaujolais Nouveau is ubiquitous, the Villages version is not all that widely available. It comes from better vineyards, which are typically reserved for non-nouveau wines. So what does one get for the slightly higher price? There is certainly the characteristic fruit of deep red berries, but there is also a modicum of depth–not a ton, but you get the idea that this is a wine of better pedigree. More than a bit of cherry cola on the palate, but another fun, let’s-not-get-overly-analytical kind of wine. Drink through the first 1/4 of the year.
The rest of the wines here are not Beaujolais Nouveau, they are Beaujolais. The difference? These wines are harvested and fermented like all of the other great wines in the world. One could argue that Dubœuf was too successful in his marketing efforts as many think that all wine from the region is Beaujolais Nouveau. Au contraire. The non-Nouveau wines from Beaujolais can be stunning and age-worthy, particularly those from the ten individual “cru” villages.
2015 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais-Villages: Retail $13. 100% Gamay. Nearly translucent crimson in the glass, with blackberry, pepper, red flower, and clove, this is an inviting wine. Quite juicy and lush up front, which eventually gives way to a decided earthy quality on the mid palate, followed by a spicy finish. At the price, this wine really over-delivers and is quite versatile: from a casual patio snack with cashews and salami, to grilled fish or meat, a solid addition to any cellar. Drink now, serve with a slight chill (60°F, 15°C). Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2105 Georges Dubœuf Brouilly: Retail $20. 100% Gamay. Each of the ten Beaujolais Crus have their own “personality” their own flavor profile and style, according to the region’s wine producers and aficionados. Brouilly, the largest and most southern of the ten Crus, is usually characterized by a fruity and lively palate, usually the earliest harvested and meant to be consumed early. This Brouilly certainly falls into that broad characterization with a dark purple hue, dark berry aromas, and a bit of anise on the back of the nose. The palate is full of fruit—mostly blackberry and plum—that dominates through the mid-palate. The finish is surprisingly chalky with noticeable tannins, suggesting that despite its “reputation” this Brouilly could benefit from a few years in the cellar, but it is certainly Excellent now. 91-93 Points.
2015 Georges Dubœuf Fleurie: Retail $20. 100% Gamay. While Brouilly is more defined by its fruit, Fleurie, as one might derive from the name (which means “flowered” or “flowery”), tends to be more floral, more feminine and even delicate, particularly when compared to the more robust and “masculine” Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon. Fairly dark crimson-purple in the glass with black cherry, black raspberry, clove, and earth on the nose. Waves of small red berry fruit immediately crash upon entry into the mouth–really opulent and full–followed by a lip-smacking tart acidity and depth. As I taste this wine, a rather obvious observation strikes me: I do not drink nearly enough Cru Beaujolais. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2015 Georges Dubœuf Pouilly-Fuissé: Retail $32. 100% Chardonnay. While the vast majority of Dubœuf’s wines hail from Beaujolais, he does make a few wines from outside of the region that is practically synonymous with his name (although he was born in the Pouilly-Fuissé region). While I think that most of the wines from the region fail to match in quality what they demand in price, this wine certainly is tasty. Slight in color, and shy in aromas, there is a bit of white flower, peach, and golden apple. On the palate, delightfully understated, with delicate fruit flavors, significant minerality, and a lengthy finish. Very nice. Excellent. 90-92 Points.