Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: **+*$$ Chiroubles Cru du Beaujolais, Georges Duboeuf, 2005, France

Find today's pricing and retail availability for Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles here.

Beaujolais Nouveau wines are a staple of the holiday season. Much hype attends the early-arriving wines, just air-shipped in from France. If you're ready to consider a slightly more sophisticated, but still friendly, alternative to traditional Beaujolais Nouveau wine with your holiday meals, think about graduating to a "Cru du Beaujolais".

The difference between "Cru" and "Nouveau" beaujolais is mostly in the quality of the gamay grapes used, and the length of time spent aging. Both cru and nouveau beaujolais wines are made from gamay grapes, fermented whole in their skins in a method called carbonic maceration.

Gamay grapes are a very old grape cultivar, known to be dating at least as far back as the 1400's. They grow in acidic soils, are fruity in style and ripen earlier than many red varieties, thus tending to produce a fresh, young red wine. Their greatest commercial production comes from Frances in the areas of Beaujolais and the Loire Valley.
Cru-style Beaujolais uses more age-worthy grapes than Beaujolais Nouveau, stored for a longer time. You will still notice some of the freshness characteristic of the gamay grape in a Cru du Beaujolais, but with a bit more depth and layering than you would have tasted in a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Let's consider one of the well-regarded cru wines from the highly regarded 2005 vintage in Beaujolais, the Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles Cru du Beaujolais. Chiroubles is one of the regions of Beaujolais.

Original review, December, 2008: In the glass, the Chiroubles Cru du Beaujolais shows a deep dark red in the glass, fading towards brick and purple at the edges.

Aromas are subtle, showing hints of grape lollipop and fragrant jam. On the palate, you get a balanced, full sensation in the mid-mouth, slightly furry with tannin. The purple grape is still there, trickling down the edges of the mouth with a light acid sparkle.

Robert Parker found the aromas of violets in this Cru Beaujolais, with flavors of blue- and blackberries.

Not a lengthy finish, edging to just a touch of rust. This would place at two stars with a plus for friendliness on the Spirit of Wine scale.

Other regions of Beaujolais with somewhat different characteristics in their wines include Fleurie and Brouilly. You may want to check them out as well.

Rumor has it that Cru du Beaujolais wines are not made for aging. But I see nothing in the Chiroubles that would suggest it wouldn't mellow and lengthen with a few additional years in the bottle. Certainly not something you would want to try with your air-lifted Beaujolais Nouveau!
Updated review, almost three years later, now six years from vintage date, October, 2011:  Color is consistent, but more brick at the edges and no purple.  Aromas are soft and mature red berries, some hint of vegetable.  On the palate, a soft, medium-full red aged Concord style flavor, soft and easy in the finish too.  Held sound, but does not want any additional bottle time.  Following long decant, three days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Vegetable aromas are gone.  There is more poignancy and an element of clean laundry on the palate.  More pleasing and touches three stars. 

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Find today's pricing and retail availability for Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles here.

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