dsc01105At a recent tasting* of a few 2011 Beaujolais wines, 79-year-old Georges Duboeuf, thin and straight in a formal blue jacket and tie contrasting with a grown, but well-combed mane of grey hair, enthusiastically proclaimed: ”2011 was a fabulous year. It was already hot by April and we had to harvest on August 22, instead of in the middle of September as we normally do.”

And when asked about the effect of intense heat that the change in climate in bringing about in Beaujolais, "the King of Beaujolais"  smiled cryptically and said: “Gamay loves heat. The hotter it gets, the more sun there is, the more concentrated and better the wine gets.”

And indeed, from the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Village 2001 and the Georges Duboeuf  Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes 2011 to the Moulin à Vent, Domaine des Rosiers and the Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans 2011, the northernmost property in Beaujolais which Dubeouf owns with his partner of 30 years, Bill Deutsch of Deutsch Family in the US, all the wines we tasted were full-bodied, aromatic and complex and all under $20.00!

The grape Gamay is very versatile as it acquires the properties of the terroir where it is grown, whether at 200 meters above sea level to relatively flat land. “The wine’s quality depends on the talent of the winemaker and the attention to detail of the wine growers,” explained Mr. Duboeuf as he described the close relationship he keeps with his wine associates.

Born in a family of winemakers in Pouilly-Fuissé in the Loire Valley, Georges Duboeuf started his own business in  1957 with a group of 45 producers and went on to become a négociant in 1964, with the company Les Vins Georges Duboeuf.  Today, the company works with over 20 wine co-ops and 400 growers in the regions.

duboeuf1Passionate about Gamay, Duboeuf feels that Beaujolais and its 10 grand crus (premium lands producing top wines--  from north to south, the ten Cru Beaujolais are Saint Amour, Juliénas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnie, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly) is producing wines that compete with the more expensive wines of its more exclusive neighbors in the Rhône valley. The Crus are a few dollars more than Beaujolais village per bottle, but  all of these wines are very good values.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Village 2001 ($9.99)a brilliant purple color and aromatic complexisty with blackcurrant, cherry, peach and subtle floral notes. It is rich, fleshy, round and elegant and was perfectly paired— as were the next two wines — with the robust tastes of a Mediterranean  dish of grilled pork loin topped with a fragrant salsa verde, akin to a garlicky pesto, with Greek-style farro salad spiked with crumbled Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and lemony diced tomato and cucumber salad.                 Photo © Jean-Luc Mège

image002Georges Duboeuf  Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes 2011 ($15.99) Brilliant garnet in color this full-bodied wine exhibits an aromatic nose of violet and black fruit notes with cherry scents. Well-structured, its robust tannins are tamed by the lively acidity and the concentrated fruitiness of the wine ending with a lingering finish.

Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans 2011 ($18.99) A tamed wine with vanilla and roasted coffee on the nose, it deployed in the palate hints of raisins and dried fruit stew with a finish of dark fruit and spices.

Georges Duboeuf  Moulin à Vent, Domaine des Rosiers 2011 ($17.99) Solid garnet color with notes of black fruit and subtle aromas of vanilla, this full-bodied wines is seductive, elegant, sophisticated and with a good tannic structure. This wine was splendidly paired with an über hamburger in a brioche bun as well as a masterful dessert of chocolate fudge topped with sea salt, olive oil, a sourdough crostini and accompanied by a deep tasting espresso parfait.

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* the tasting was held at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink restaurant in the Design District, Miami.

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