Vintage 2009 is being proclaimed as the best that Beaujolais has seen not only in many years but in the lifetimes of the oldest vignerons. The grape of Beaujolais is gamay, a cousin of pinot noir. Certainly this range of some of the many Cru Beaujolais wines produced by Georges Duboeuf that I tried recently displayed uncommon depth and resonance and will benefit from aging for eight to 10 years. Duboeuf gets a lot of criticism (including from me) for launching and sustaining the fad for Beaujolais Nouveau and for introducing the yeast — 71B — that imposes the repulsive scents of bananas and coconut on Beaujolais Nouveau and basic level Beaujolais; no, youngsters, those aromas are not “characteristic” of Beaujolais.

Duboeuf, however, through long-term contracts and relationships, also produces and markets the wines of a number of small estates or properties among the 10 Cru Beaujolais communes, as well as making his own Cru wines sold under his well-known flower labels. I tasted a selection of these wines recently at a trade event. The products of Georges Duboeuf are imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Harrison, N.Y.
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Brouilly 2009 (Flower label). Enticing ruby-purple color; penetrating, almost startling, aromas of black currant, mulberry, cloves and shale, vibrant and refreshing; a deep, dark Brouilly, with tingling, beckoning acidity for backbone, spicy black cherry and black currant flavors (with a flare of red plum) for flesh, and a heart of clean, mineral-laced tannins. A remarkable performance at this level. Drink now through 2014 to ’15. Excellent. About $16, Great Value.
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Fleurie 2009 (Flower label). You could swim in the bouquet, dab it behind your ears, send it on an extraterrestrial voyage with a note that says, “Here’s what we smell like, lucky us” but, boy, after the panoply of generous black fruit scents, roses and violets, spicy and foresty elements, this is a pretty damned tight and closed-in wine, at this point rather overwhelmed by its tannic structure. Try from 2011 through 2015 or ’16. Very Good+. About $17.
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Clos des Quatre Vents Fleurie 2009. This Fleurie from the “Walled Vineyard of the Four Winds” offers aromas of spiced, macerated and roasted black currants, black raspberries and mulberries in a base of smoky plums and graphite. It’s large in scale and mouth-filling, even for a Cru Beaujolais, but doesn’t lose the gamay grape’s signature poignant notes of ripe red raspberry, rose petals and brambles. Drink now through 2014 or ’15. Excellent. About $19.
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Morgon 2009 (Flower label). A vivid assemblage of black cherry, red raspberry, baking spice, bitter chocolate, iron and shale, ensconced in a dark ruby-purple color. What more do you want? Very sleek and polished, yet the tannins are formidable and unexpectedly gritty. Still, black fruit flavors are ripe and juicy, and touches of rhubarb, licorice and a clean rooty element lend detail and dimension. Drink now through 2013 to ’15. Very Good+. About $15.
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Domaine de la Chaponne Morgon 2009. At first this estate Cru Beaujolais seems subdued and restrained, but that’s because it’s marshaling its considerable reserves of intense shale-like minerality, concentrated black (and blue-tinged) fruit flavors and finely-milled tannins. It envelopes the nose and fills the mouth and is, altogether, as powerful expression of the gamay grape as I have seen, yet does power equal integrity? This is also the most syrah-like interpretation of a Cru Beaujolais that I have seen, or at least among this roster, so, yes, it offers attractions but to my mind loses focus and purpose a bit. Try from 2011 or ’12 through 2015 to ’17 and see if it comes to its senses. On the other hand, I mustn’t forget that Morgon is typically the largest, the deepest of the Cru Beaujolais. Very Good+. About $16.
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Jean Descombes Morgon 2009. Back in December, I made the 2008 version of this wine my Wine of the Week. For 2009, it’s even better. Remarkable purity and intensity; wonderful depth and concentration and resonance. Dark and spicy black cherry and red raspberry fruit with a touch of tart mulberry — we have a mulberry tree in the front yard — and just a hint of violets; this is big, dry, deeply permeated by granite-like minerality and foresty elements, yet it doesn’t lose sight if its, um, site, that is to say in a commune noted for producing gamay wines of generosity and expansiveness. Try from 2012 or ’13 through 2016 to ’18. Excellent. About $17, representing Real Value.
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Juliénas La TrinQuée 2009. Juliénas tends to be my favorite of the Cru Beaujolais, perhaps from nostalgia, because on my birthday in 1984, we drank a bottle of Duboeuf Julienas 1983, or simply because it embodies all the virtues of Cru Beaujolais without the occasional extremes; it’s not too floral and spicy, not is it as tannic and structured as Morgon and Moulin à Vent can be. Juliénas La TrinQuée 2009 is a wine of particular purity and intensity, resonance and vibrancy. It offers, paradoxically, the warmth of ripe, fleshy, meaty black and red fruit flavors with the coolness of granite and peat. Immensely appealing, powerful without being forceful, elegant without being fragile. Now through 2015 or ’16. Excellent. About $16, Great Value.
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Juliénas Chateau des Capitans 2009. On the other hand, this is not my favorite Juliénas. Oh, it certainly displays tremendous purity and intensity — it practically vibrates in the glass — but in its wheatmeal-earthy-minerally nature, its rollicking spice and dusty, chewy tannins, I find it atypical of its grape and commune. It’s not enough merely to take the virtues of those essential entities and pump them up like sluggers on steroids. Or perhaps it just needs some time to find company manners, say from 2012 or ’13 through 2015 to ’17. Very Good+. About $20.
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Moulin à Vent Domaine de la Tour de Bief 2009. Ripe, roasted and meaty, with black cherry and cassis scents and flavors stirringly imbued with penetrating graphite-like minerality and a dark, earthy, spicy element. Quite vibrant and resonant, real presence, yet neither heavy nor obvious; actually graced with an inner sense of delicacy and balance. Still — always the qualifying “still” — this rather quickly takes on the trappings of seriousness in the form of underbrush, a mossy note and a finish freighted with dry, tannic austerity. Among the most complex Cru Beaujolais wines I have encountered. Try from 2012 or ’13 through 2016 to ’18. Excellent. About $18, a Bargain for the Price.
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Readers, this is the 700th post on BTYH since December 2006 when it started.
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