Just this past week marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I set foot on an airplane, returning from the 2020 NBA All-Star Game and a frigid Chicago, Illinois. I did not have even an inkling at the time that the dozen or so trips to various wine regions around the world that I had scheduled over the following six months would be first postponed, then rather unceremoniously cancelled altogether.
One of those trips I had scheduled was to Moulin-à-Vent, in the heart of France’s Beaujolais wine region. It would have been my first trip back there since the death of the region’s de facto ambassador, Georges Dubœuf, and while I was looking forward to the trip, it would have certainly been a melancholic endeavor.
Due to the pandemic, though,… well you know how the rest of that sentence goes.
A couple of weeks before the state of Texas seemed determined to prove that it was a third-world country, I did what apparently all have become to believe is the “next best thing.” I had a Zoom call with Romain Teyteau, the Export Manager at Les Vins Georges Dubœuf (and my guide when I last visited Beaujolais, in 2019) to taste through several of the current release “together.”
[In the name of everything holy, could someone please come up with a new “next best thing”? I mean, I love Zoom as much as the next person (which means, of course, not at all), but…]
Our Zoomversation lasted a little over an hour, and I decided to break it up a little bit since, well, who wants to look at me struggle with my native language for any length of time (is it just me, or is it a blow to the ego to meet a non-native speaker who has a better grasp of your native language than you do)?
Next, we talked a little bit about tasting order, which I have always wondered how it is determined, but it turns out to be much easier than I thought:
That led us into a little broader discussion of the white wine program at Dubœuf:
And finally, we got to drinking some wine (I will leave out the part that it was about 10 a.m. Houston time):
2019 Georges Dubœuf Mâcon-Villages Domaine Les Chenevières, France: Retail $25. 100% Unoaked Chardonnay. The Lenoir family has been making Chardonnay in the Mâconnais region of Burgundy for several generations and they have been a part of the Dubœuf family for close to thirty years. This 2019 is the third consecutive vintage I have tried and this might be the best of the trio. Slightly golden in the glass with bright fruit notes of white peach, pear, pineapple. The palate is tart and angular with an intense focus on the fruit, balanced by flinty minerality and a lingering acidity. Very Nice. Excellent. 91 Points.
We then transitioned to the reds:
Even though we did not taste the Beaujolais “together” I include my notes here:
2019 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais, France: Retail $15. 100% Gamay. Although I shouldn’t need to do this, I feel I must: this is not Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s Beaujolais. The difference? Nouveau is the first wine of the harvest, it is picked, fermented, and bottled quickly so that it can get out before the end of the year of its harvest. Beaujolais, on the other hand, is usually considered a more serious wine. Sure, it’s fruity and usually meant to be consumed young, but this spends both more time in tank and bottle and is typically better with food. Fruity, with that characteristic bubblegum aspect that defines many a wine from the region. Sure, the fruit dominates the palate but the acidity is not far behind, nor is the complexity that is absent from its Nouveau cousin. Yes, I am a fan of the Dubœuf Family and its wines and this entry-level Beaujolais is part of the reason why–it’s fantastic. Excellent. 90 Points.
Finally, we taste the Beaujolais-Villages:
2019 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais-Villages, France: Retail $14. 100% Gamay. I was sent a slew of Dubœuf wines to taste on a Zoom call with Romain Teyteau, the Export Director for Les Vins Georges Dubœuf. It was a melancholy encounter since the last time I “saw” Romain, I was in Romanèche-Thorins, in the heart of Beaujolais, tasting the 2017 vintage of this wine, seated next to Georges Dubœuf himself, one of the kindest men I have ever met. Sadly, Monsieur Dubœuf passed away a little over a year ago, but his legacy lives on as the family-owned business is in the very capable hands of his son, Franck. This Villages is habitually under-rated, in my opinion, and is simply delightful: fresh, fruity, with plenty of acidity, this is perhaps the most versatile wine in the Dubœuf portfolio. From apéritif to dinner table, this is fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.