The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait: 2005 Georges Descombes Morgon Vieilles Vignes

11/9/2007 -

We have patiently been awaiting this bottling to arrive as it is the last released 2005 of the vintage. Well it was worth the wait. It came in on Friday and I quickly purchased a bottle as I have been waiting for this day for months. As soon as I poured this wine I knew it was something special. Deep aromas of berry fruit, earth, mineral and some mint. But then it changed again and became more floral, and then changed again with darker fruit accents, and then changed again . . .you get the point. The palate had the structure of a Grand Cru from Gevrey Chambertin. Thoroughly ripe and juicy with ripe, sweet and noble tannin this had amazing concentration, purity and character. This was hard to define as complex as it kept changing over and over again and something that is complex is defined as stable. So I guess this was not a complex wine (tongue firmly planted in cheek.) I would boldly say this has the structure to age and improve for 20-25 years. This is one of these rare wine that has actually delivered, and actually gone above and beyond the hype that was strewn upon it. A profound bottle of Beaujolais and easily the best one I have ever had.

Georges Descombes is the fifth member of what is affectionately called the Gang of Four which are four Morgon producers that all share the same importer and basic wine-making philosophy. The other four are Lapierre, Breton, Foillard & Thevenet.

The style is derived from the work of Jules Chauvet, the legendary father of the natural wine movement in France.  M. Chauvet fought against the tendency to create ever more powerful and alcoholic wines, advocating aromatic beauty, lower alcohol and the respect of nature in the vineyard. As a young man, Descombes tasted with Lapierre and became determined to make wines in that style. To that end, Descombes does a long cold maceration, without sulfur dioxide, and ferments with wild yeasts, of course. He works the soil, rather than using herbicides, even doing it by hand (and foot!) in the wet conditions of 2007. He does a longer elevage on his Morgon than the other growers, using old burgundy barrels and only sulfurs, very minimally, at the bottling, thus creating an elegant, aromatically complex wine capable of burgundian aging. (And, as more and more people realize, an aged Cru Beaujolais from a vintage like 2005 becomes one of the greatest food matchings in the world!)

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