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Good-bye to Beaujolais Icon Georges Duboeuf

This week, the wine industry lost one of it’s tireless trailblazers. Georges Duboeuf, aged 86, died. With Georges’ passing, the entire wine world paused in silent reflection.

Perhaps you’ve tried a bottle of Duboeuf Beaujolais wine?

Beaujolais is a red wine that smells and tastes of bright raspberry and cherry fruits. These wines are never drying or bitter and most are made for immediate consumption and pleasure. That is, the vast majority of them do not require cellaring and are just scrumptiously delicious on release. Glug, glug!

In fact one style of Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau, is the earliest legally released wine in France. On the third Thursday in November, at 12:01 am, the first Beaujolais Nouveau is released to the public, during a massive party, torchlight parades and fireworks. And this party lasts an entire week!

Georges Duboeuf, is known as the largest marketer extraordinaire of Beaujolais’ success.

In a region that has been shrinking steadily over the last 2 decades, the Duboeuf family has kept many vignerons in business. The Duboeuf domain only owns one Beaujolais estate: Château des Capitan’s in the Cru of Julienas. But they purchase 20% of all grapes in the region for their Duboeuf family brand to make 2.5 million cases annually.

What is Beaujolais Nouveau?

These wines are released when they are maybe 1-2 months old. They are made with a winemaking technique known as carbonic maceration which brightens both the color of the wine to give it a fuchsia rim as well as a pronounced candied cherry fruit aroma and flavor.


Beaujolais Nouveau should be chilled before drinking. Serving temperature for this light bodied red wine is best at a cool 10 º Celsius. Most sources say you should chill the wine to bring out the fruit flavors. What this really means is that chilling the wine tapers the sour tartness of these super young wines.

Drink immediately and do not cellar. Glug, glug!

Here’s a breakdown of Beaujolais appellations terms of quality from lowest to highest.

  1. Beaujolais AOC

Basic Beaujolais wines are made from grapes grown on the flatter sites and may go through carbonic maceration (see above) or at least a semi-carbonic giving it that fuchsia rim and lifted bright red fruit aroma and flavor. The main difference between this and the Nouveau category is that they are generally a little more concentrated and released after some time spent in the winery that results in softer mouthwatering acidity.

Serve at 12 degrees Celsius in a Burgundy wine glass. Hold for 1 year only and do not cellar.


      2. Beaujolais Villages – Beaujolais Villages wines are made from grapes that are grown on hillside sites that give better drainage and result in a slightly richer style of wine.

Serve at 12 degrees Celsius in a Burgundy wine glass. Drink within 2 years

     3. Beaujolais Cru – there are 10 ‘Cru’ villages in Beaujolais. A Cru village occupies the best sites for growing Gamey, the grape in Beaujolais wine. The grapes are planted in the best granite soils and on hillside slopes with the best aspects. Crus are the closest thing to a Grand Cru you can get from Beaujolais.

Old vines in Morgon - one of 10 Beaujolais Crus
Old vines in Morgon – one of 10 Beaujolais Crus




For taste, these wines are even riper and more concentrated. They move away from the black raspberry and tart cherry of the villages and nouveau bottling’s and instead offer more black cherry and plum fruit along with slight tannins (that fuzzy drying feeling on your gums). Some of these have a hint of cinnamon spice from oak barrels.

Duboeuf produces many Cru wines from grapes they purchase. But they only grow grapes on their own estate for just one wine, the Château des Capitan’s Julienas. This is considered the top wine from Duboeuf. It’s only $25 at British Columbia Liquor Stores.

Drink most Cru bottling’s within 3 years. However, wines that are vilified traditionally (without carbonic maceration) may be cellared for up to 10 years. Serve at 15º Celsius.

When you enjoy Beaujolais, give a nod to Georges Duboeuf for sharing them with the world.



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