Georges Duboeuf is known for his eloquent and verbose vintage reports in which he yearly extolls the virtues of the Beaujolais crop. "Divine! Dazzling! Voluptuous! Generous!" is just part of his report on the 2011 vintage. The 2009 Beaujolais Crus are "truly the vintage of my lifetime," according to Duboeuf, while the Beaujolais Crus of 2010 prompted him to exclaim, "The Beaujolais region is on a winning streak."
Duboeuf has every right to use as many exclamation points as he likes. Jean Bourjade is the Managing Director of Inter Beaujolais, the wine council representing the Producers of Beaujolais, and he echoes Duboeuf's praise of the last three vintages in Beaujolais. He claims Beaujolais is the only French region in his memory to have three consecutive vintages of such high quality.
Salesmanship aside, Georges Duboeuf is the most recognizable name in Beaujolais wine. He represents over 400 winegrowers in the region and his name is a mainstay in the French section of supermarket shelves worldwide. In this post we'll explore Morgon, one of the twelve Crus of Beaujolais.
Both of these bottles are produced from Duboeuf's Morgon vineyards, both are marketed as "red Burgundy wine," both have a 13% abv number and both sell for about $16. The wine with the more serious looking label is a grower-specific wine from the vineyards of the late Jean-Ernest Descombes. His daughter Nicole now tends the wine business. The wine with the flower on the label is made from Duboeuf vineyards, but is not grower-specific. These bottles were provided to me for sampling purposes.
The Morgon Cru lies south of six Beaujolais crus and north of three. Gamay is the main grape, as it is in all of the Beaujolais region. In the 14th century, the Dukes of Burgundy kicked the Gamay grape out of Burgundy in favor of Pinot Noir and Gamay took root in Beaujolais to the south. Morgon has a long history with grapes - it was home to the vineyards of the Romans. The volcanic and granitic rock found in the crumbling soil of the Morgon region supplies the terroir.
The Descombes bottling has a bright nose full of cherry and raspberry. The palate is full and refreshing with a zippy acidity. The tannins show restraint while cherry and raspberry flavors are laced with a very slight hint of citrus. I really get a sense of the minerals in these flavors.
The flower label bottle shows the same fruit on the nose, but has more of a mineral or vegetal overlay. It's not quite so bright - fairly dark, in fact. The palate is less delicate as well, with a darker aspect to the fruit and a bit more tanninic grip.
Keep an eye out for more exploration of the Beaujolais crus here on the Now And Zin Wine Blog.