Régnié is the most recent Cru in Beaujolais and perhaps the least well known. Stylistically the wines have a lovely velvety charm but perhaps without the minerality of some of the other Crus. They excel with an attractive fruitiness and vivid freshness that makes them perfect to drink in their first few years and the best examples, such as this, will age further. This 2017 is a beauty and has a vivid magenta/pink colour with attractive fruity aromas (confit strawberry, herbs, flowers..) In the mouth it is very crispy and juicy with fresh, crunchy and vibrant fruit and a long stony and bright finish; this is pretty hard to put down!
Tucked away up in the hills between Morgon and Fleurie, Chiroubles has often been described as “the most Beaujolais of the ten crus of Beaujolais.” In other words, everything that makes wines from this region so lovable—low alcohol, explosive flowery aromas, high-toned juicy fruit—are intensified in Chiroubles. The nose here is bright and crystal clear with typically entrancing aromas of red/black cherries and hints of sweet kirsch. In the mouth the taste is energetic, fresh and focused, with juicy fruit, fresh acidity and a fluid mineral finish. It has beautiful tension, balance and length. To me, this is perfect Cru Beaujolais from George and it will age superbly.
As soon as Georges Descombes took over the estate from his father in the late eighties he immediately started shifting viticultural and oenological practices forward. Though his father had always worked traditionally in the vineyards and cellar, Georges decided to push things further by practicing organic viticulture (certified by Ecocert) and eliminating all entrants or manipulation during vinification. In total, Georges owns about 15,5 hectares of land spread over 5 appellations : 7,5 hectares in Morgon, 3,5 hectares in Brouilly, 2 hectares in Regnié, 0,5 hectare in Chiroubles and 2 hectares of Beaujolais Villages. In the winery, he uses very little sulfur and eschews filtration. Where his style differs from his peers is that he leaves the must to undergo cold carbonic maceration for a whole 30 days. He then ages his wines for around a year (in barrels for the Vieilles Vignes) prior to bottling. Further extended ageing in bottle helps these natural wines to stabilise and develop. The resulting wines are amazingly fresh and mineral whilst having the structure to age. He is the unofficial 5th member of the famed ‘Gang of Four’ (Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thévenet and Guy Breton) who shook things up in the late eighties by returning to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and disdaining chapitalization. Their wines have become world famous and each has his individual style. Stylistically Descombes wines are somewhat similar to those of Marcel Lapierre. They have excellent depth and resonate in the mouth with real vibrancy and clarity.
Georges has been handing over some parcels to his twentysomething son Kewin, who clearly has his father’s knack and is an understudy of Fred Cossard, say no more ! This terrific wine from old vines planted in the high country of Morgon near Vermont, the family’s hamlet. This has real presence and depth in the glass – cool, succulent fruit and a billowing perfume lead into a sappy stony mouthfeel with lovely sinewy length. Very impressive!