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As we said a few months ago, Georges Descombes is one of the very greatest producers in Beaujolais - his 2019s - both the "regular" cuvées and the Vieilles Vignes are astonishingly delicious! And now the 2020s are beginning to arrive, including the 2020 Morgon, the Brouilly Vieilles Vignes and the Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes. We're happy to report that the 2020s are sensational, with similarly beautiful fruit with a bit more structure and mineral character - both vintages are wonderful and perfect to serve cool with grilled foods this summer!
The only problem is that the wines have become very rare, with tiny quantities coming into NY. We have a whopping 2 to 4 cases of each Vieilles Vignes cuvée to sell, 6 cases of the 2020 Morgon and just a few drops of the 2019 "regular' Regnié and Brouilly.
Prices have risen since our last offer, but given the superb quality of the wines, and the enormous pleasure they give - either for current drinking or after some years in the cellar - they remain excellent values. I am reminded of an early experience with an aged Cru Beaujolais - the wine was the 1985 René Berrod Moulin-a-Vent encountered at a restaurant in Fleurie. It remains one of my most memorable food/wine pairings to this day, and the beautiful wines of Georges Descombes will give comparable enjoyment!
This is a classic version of the Descombes Morgon VV, showing ripe high-toned black raspberry and tart cherry aromas with plum, violet, citrus, earth and brown spice, really lovely. The elegant sappy black and red fruits continue on the palate with complex notes of blood orange, mint and spice, quite saline and earthy as well, really showing the terroir. The wine is dense and structured but bright and balanced, finishing with refreshing acidity, citrus, cherry fruit, anise and mineral flavors. Delicious now, this should be superb in three to five years, and should drink well till 2030 and beyond. David Lillie
Georges Descombes has created another superb Morgon in 2020 - not as bright perhaps as the 2014 (pictured) but with a similar balance of alcohol (13%), freshness and very ripe sappy fruit. The wine shows a bright, vivid red/black color with earth, violet and citrus notes mingling with lovely raspberry and blackberry aromas. The palate is ripe, silky and well-structured with fresh, velvety raspberry, cherry and blackberry fruit, with earth and mineral notes bringing texture and length to the sappy, lingering finish. This is a beautiful Morgon to serve cool with farm chicken, grilled pork and lamb, cow cheeses and charcuterie over the next 4 - 5 years. David Lillie
Georges Descombes is one of the great producers of natural Beaujolais - the Descombes Brouilly comes from 3.5 hectares on steep slopes, farmed organically. Carbonic maceration with whole clusters then a slow vertical press to finish the fermentation. No additives, a small addition of SO2 before bottling. The 2019 Brouilly Vieilles Vignes may have been the best 2019 Beaujolais I have tasted and while this wine doesn't have quite the density of its big sibling, it is just as TASTY. Vivid raspberry and strawberry fruit, allspice and clove and that cool trace of bitterness in the finish that betrays the granite soils underneath. Pound for pound, I think Descombes is the finest producer in the region over the last ten years, making consistently great wines that are completely affordable. Sam Ehrlich
The 2019 Regnié from Geroges Descombes is a delicious and finely balanced wine, even in a warmer vintage, Ripe and generous fruit is offset with lively acidity and a vivid intensity on the palate that keeps this wine lifted and fresh. On the nose there are high-toned earthy, meaty aromas of red and black currant, black raspberry, black cherry, rose, violets, and licorice. The palate has soft and finely integrated tannins and a beautiful texture, showing notes of ripe strawberry, plum and raspberry liqueur, blackberry, pomegranate, orange peel, baking spice and a granitic minerality, especially on the supple, complex and satisfying finish. This is a very versatile wine, really a superb Beaujolais - drink now or hold for 5 to 8 years - highly recommended!
Georges Descombes makes a tiny quantity of Brouilly Vieilles Vignes - in some years we get none, in 2020 we have about 24 bottles to sell. The 2020 shows a deep red/black color, with aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry liqueur, with violet, black pepper and citrus - quite lush and pretty. Dark and earthy black fruits on the sapid well-structured palate, with good length of intense dark fruits that are balanced by refreshing acidity in the finish. As with all the Descombes VV cuvées, there is a beautiful mineral/earthy texture that is perhaps more prominent in 2020 than in the previous two vintages. Delicious now, perhaps best 2027 - 2032
Haven’t checked in on a lot of the 2020 Beaujolais Crus. George’s Descombes is a longtime favorite, and what a treat to taste the Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes. The 2020 displays a darker ruby robe than the 2019. The nose is a bit circumspect on opening. More black raspberry and tangled bramble on the nose than strawberry and spice. Dust, dried rose and violet petals accent the deep fruit. The midweight palate is sculpted and driving and offers intense flavors of hedge fruits, cherry pit, and mineral salts on a long and punchy finish. This marries stony intensity with succulent fruit framed by taut structure. Tasty for sure, buoyed by a nibble of saucisson, better still with leftover potato gratin and duck confit and sautéed chard. This is delicious, but rather than being “crushable,” it rewards patience and contemplation. Decant now or cellar for a couple of years to allow the elements to knit. John McIlwain