Beaujolais is the French wine region that offers the most value


I recently spent a week visiting Beaujolais with the Georges Duboeuf family and a couple points were driven home quite vividly. First of all, the diversity within Beaujolais from village to village and cru to cru is stark. Georges Duboeuf works with a multitude of growers and producers so their portfolio alone offers a real cross-section of the bounty of Beaujolais. Secondly, the Gamay grape is generally low in tannins and thin of skin, so how well it can age is a bit of a surprise. But over a week, I had the opportunity to taste a fair number of wines with age on them, some more than a decade old, and they were a revelation. Third, the value proposition in Beaujolais is absolutely astounding. There are extremely enjoyable everyday wines available for around $10, which is nice, but that’s not the best part. What’s really stunning is the level of quality available in the $20 to $40 range. The level of depth, concentration and age worthiness that abounds in those wines completely belies their price points. This is true for both Gamy and Chardonnay.

It also became quite apparent over my time in Beaujolais that the name “Georges Duboeuf” on a bottle represents not only the obvious such as quality and value but likewise pride. This was exhibited by Georges, his family and direct team, and notably by everyone he works with. Over the week, the group I travelled with was in the company of growers and winemakers who sell either grapes or wine (sometimes both) to Duboeuf. The feeling that was conveyed over and over again was how happy and full of pride each woman and man is to work with the Georges Duboeuf team. Nearly everyone we spoke to has been working together with the Duboeuf family for decades, a testament to the relationship from both sides.
The value across the board in Beaujolais is impressive; the Duboeuf name on a bottle is an assurance of both value and quality whether it’s a wine they produced or one they purchased finished and market. The selection is broad and distinct, offering site- and region-based Gamay and Chardonnay that provide huge bang for the buck. Here’s a look at a handful of my favorites.

Georges Duboeuf 2017 Beaujolais Rouge ($12)

The boisterous and somewhat extroverted nose shows off cherry blossoms and bits of spice. Pomegranate, cranberry and wisps of vanilla are evident on the palate. The finish is above average and firm. Racy acid lends to the better-than-expected structure here. This wine is a really great value (case buy!) and will pair with a really wide range of foods.

Georges Dubeouf 2017 Chiroubles Rouge ($20)

A strong floral component informs the aromatics here. Stanberry and raspberry flavors fill the palate along with a complement of spices. Dust and earth notes dominate the long finish. This offering is remarkably fresh and alive with bright acid and oodles of flavor. It’s a lot of wine for $20, and it’ll drink well over the next 7-8 years.

Chateau De Saint Amour 2017, Saint Amour($22)

This wine hails from the northern most appellation within Beaujolais. The lifted nose shows off white flowers and red plum. The palate is stuffed with wave after wave of appealing red fruit flavors that are underpinned by copious spice notes. Bits of leather and graphite emerge on the long finish. Racy acid and firm tannins are part of the tremendous structure. It’s delicious now but will be even more expressive with a couple years of bottle age.

Domaine les Chenevieres 2017, Macon-Village($22)

Fresh orchard fruit aromas leap from the nose. Granny Smith apple flavors dominate the palate and are joined by bits of white pepper. A cacophony of minerals and wet limestone characteristics drive the long, lean and crisp finish. This is delicious all by itself or paired with light- to medium-bodied foods.

Georges Duboeuf 2017 Saint Veran Blanc ($28)

Linseed oil, fleshy yellow fruit and bits of smoke dot the nose here. Golden Delicious apple, Anjou pear and lemon curd flavors dominate the full-flavored and complex palate. Wisps of mesquite honey and lemon zest dot the long, lingering finish.

The portfolio of Georges Duboeuf is massive and filled with great wines produced and/or distributed by them. The ones I list above are just the tip of the iceberg. Try the one that sounds most appealing, but you can purchase anything that says “Georges Duboeuf” with confidence and an expectation of quality.

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